Existing DC Zoning
Washington was one of the first cities to develop a comprehensive zoning ordinance after New York broke the ground in 1916. This began with the Zoning Act of 1920, which established zoning and the Zoning Commission in the District. In 1938 the Zoning Commission was granted the full powers that they have today and the Board of Zoning Adjustment was created as a zoning release valve for variances and special exceptions.
This system continued until the 1950s when a new Comprehensive Plan suggested a complete overhaul of the zoning regulations. In 1958, the city adopted an entirely new set of zoning regulations suggested by the 1956 Lewis Plan. This created a new set of zoning districts, applied stricter parking requirements, and addressed many other issues raised in the Comprehensive Plan.
Today, the District is still operating under the same basic zoning ordinance approved 50 years ago. There have been a large number of amendments to the regulations over the years, but the structure and basic zone districts remain the same.