Zoning Commission Approves Six-Month Extension of Orders Expiring Through December 31, 2020

As part of the initial flurry of administrative and regulatory changes in response to the ongoing pandemic, the Zoning Commission (Commission) took emergency action to approve a text amendment to the Zoning Regulations extending the validity of approval orders that otherwise would expire between April 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The amendment applies to orders from the Board of Zoning Adjustment approving a special exception or variance as well as orders from the Commission approving a first-stage planned unit development or any contested case such as a consolidated planned unit development. 

The text amendment provides that orders of approval otherwise set to expire between April 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020, will remain valid for an additional six months beyond the stated expiration date. For example, an order expiring on May 1, 2020, will be valid until November 1, 2020, at which time the order must be vested pursuant to the Zoning Regulations, or an extension request must be filed. The Commission clarified that the six-month extension runs concurrently with any previous time extensions to the order and, accordingly, is not cumulative. Additionally, for approved planned unit developments that are required to begin construction within three years of approval, the construction date is extended for six months when it falls between April 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

The Commission’s text amendment will provide much-needed relief to the development and builder community that may be experiencing increased uncertainty on projects during the pandemic.

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Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use

Cozen O’Connor has represented residential, commercial, retail, and industrial builders in the development and redevelopment of building lots and millions of square feet of real estate. Our team handles every aspect of the zoning, land use, and development approvals process, from obtaining building permits and variances to negotiating stormwater management and traffic plans.

Head of the DC Zoning Group & Blog Editor