Chairman Carper Announces Passage of Height Act Amendment

WASHINGTON- Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, highlighted the Senate passage of H.R.4192, “An Act to regulate the height of buildings in the District of Columbia”.  The bill passed the Senate through unanimous consent. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and cosponsored by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), and was passed Tuesday by unanimous consent in the House. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.

“This small change to the Height Act represents a new opportunity for the District of Columbia,” Chairman Carper said.  “With this legislation, the D.C. government has the ability to open up existing high-rise spaces for use by residents and businesses, while preserving the iconic cityscape.  I want to commend Representative Issa and Delegate Norton for their work in support of this legislation.”

The Height Act of 1910 limits buildings to 90 feet in residential areas and 130 feet in mixed use or commercial areas in the District of Columbia. The Act also limits the use of penthouses to the storage of mechanical equipment.  The amendment removes this limitation and gives the District of Columbia the authority to allow residents to live in these penthouses. This potentially opens up penthouses in the District for a variety of uses, including pools, gardens, residences, and offices.  In order to preserve the views of the Capitol and the city’s skyline, all penthouses would be limited to 20 feet tall and would be required to maintain the existing 1:1 setback spacing conditions.