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Metropole Condominium Association v. District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

June 30, 2016

METROPOLE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, et al., Petitioners,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BOARD OF ZONING ADJUSTMENT, Respondent,

          Argued November 10, 2015

         On Petition for Review of an Order of the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings BZA-18638.

         Petition for Review of a Decision of the District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA-18638).

          David W. Brown for petitioners Metropole Condominium Association, et al.

          James C. McKay, Jr., Senior Assistant Attorney General, with Whom Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Loren L. Alikhan, Deputy Solicitor General, were on the brief, for respondent District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment.

          BEFORE: Washington, Chief Judge; McLeese, Associate Judge; and Newman, Senior Judge.

         JUDGMENT

         This case came to be heard on the administrative record, a certified copy of the agency hearing transcript and the briefs filed, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, and as set forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby

         ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the decision of the Board of Zoning Adjustment is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

          OPINION

          ERIC T. WASHINGTON CHIEF JUDGE.

         Petitioners seek review of an order of the Board of Zoning Adjustment ("BZA" or the "Board") granting an application for a variance and a special exception to allow for the construction of an eight-story residential apartment building with thirty-seven dwelling units next door to their condominium. We agree with petitioners that the BZA failed to make necessary findings of fact and failed to adequately grapple with difficult questions presented by conflicting evidence in the record. Consequently, we remand this matter to the BZA for further findings and consideration consistent with this opinion.

         I. Factual Background

         On July 24, 2013, Gregg Busch and Rosebusch, LLC (the "Applicant") applied to the Board for variance and special exception relief to construct an eight-story residential apartment building with thirty-seven dwelling units on Church Street, Northwest. The property on which the applicant desires to build the apartments consists of three lots, each currently containing a three-story brick rowhouse that fronts Church Street. Church Street is fifty feet wide. The property is zoned in the ARTS/C-3-A Overlay and is located within the 14th Street Historic District. The block on which the rowhouses are located has been almost entirely redeveloped and these lots are among the last to be improved. The applicant requested a special exception from roof structure height requirements and a variance from off-street parking requirements. Specifically, the applicant requested a parking variance from 11 DCMR § 2101.1, which requires one parking space to be provided for every two units. In this case, the regulation required nineteen parking spaces for the applicant's project.

         The property is bordered on the east by a seven-story apartment building and on the west by the Metropole Condominium, another seven-story building that steps down to four stories immediately adjacent to the applicant's site on Church Street. The BZA granted petitioners, members of the Metropole Condominium Association, party status in opposition to the application because they claimed that the application will have an adverse effect on the light, air, and enjoyment of their property. The Metropole also challenged the development based on impacts to parking on surrounding streets. The Advisory Neighborhood ...


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