This sounds really, really bad if I’m reading it correctly. For those restaurants that are doing construction and planning on opening, what’s going to happen?
Anyone seeking to open an eating and drinking establishment (including delis, coffee shops and carry outs) will need to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to seek a special exception.
Requiring all new projects to go to the BZA will absorb an enormous amount of business, community and government resources as projects seek exemptions to a rule that is widely regarded as outdated and harmful to economic development.
It will stall new projects and prevent existing ones from expanding.
It will discourage entrepreneurs from investing in the MidCity area, including underdeveloped parts of the district.
It will send a strong message to local, regional, national investors that DC is business unfriendly.
We will be sending a letter to CM Jim Graham, CM Jack Evans and other city officials asking for their help in obtaining an urgent text change to the zoning regulations to increase the allowance from 25% to 50% of the total area.
We will be continue to work with our community partners including the Logan Circle Communtiy Association and the U Street Neighborhood Association along with commissioners from ANC1B, ANC2F and ANC2B to develop a constructive and positive response as our community coalition continues to work together to promote positive, balanced economic and community development in MidCity.
UPDATE: 14thandYou (who are much better versed in permitting than me) have written that they don’t think this is a big deal, and will just be an extra beauracratic step. DCist is spinning the story as the Mid City Business Assocation becoming upset that DCRA will enforce rules already on the books.