Blog Archives

The Court of Discontent is a Whale of a Problem

A blue whale grows more than thirty pounds a day and doubles in size in its first six months of life.  Every developer wants to land the whale of a deal.  Many big deals in the District of Columbia require complicated entitlements before the Board of Zoning Adjustment or the Zoning Commission.  Unfortunately, the District’s zoning world has fallen prey to a growing number of challenges before the DC Court of Appeals, and the court is only feeding the problem. What we are seeing is not only an increase in zoning cases that are being appealed, but also greater scrutiny from the Court of Appeals over decisions made by the Board of Zoning Adjustment or the Zoning Commission.  Simply put,

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Office of Zoning, Office of Planning on the Hot Seat

On February 28th, 2018, the DC Council conducted oversight hearings for the DC Office of Zoning (“OZ”) and the DC Office of Planning (“OP”).  Oversight hearings provide the DC Council and members of the public an opportunity to ask OZ and OP officials questions about their performance over the past year. Sara Bardin, Director of OZ, presented that there was an 8% increase in Board of Zoning Adjustment (“BZA”) and Zoning Commission (“ZC”) cases over the last year and discussed upcoming updates that will allow automatic “sun/shade studies” to be conducted on the OZ website (which is still in its testing phase).  DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson engaged Director Bardin, as well as ZC Chair Anthony Hood and BZA Chair

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

deCOding CO-LIVING in DC

Community housing, boarding houses, and communal living arrangements have been around since the 1840s, as indicated by a brochure by the Academy of American Poets when it identified the boarding houses where Walt Whitman and Edgar Allen Poe rested their heads.  Even though such concepts long have been a part of society, co-living facilities are receiving new scrutiny in an unregulated gray area of DC zoning regulations, as more developers become interested in meeting this segment of the market. You may be asking yourself, “What is co-living, exactly?”  Co-living is a modern form of housing where residents intentionally share living space and, ostensibly, choose to live around a shared set of interests.  Those interests in many cases revolve around guiding principles

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

The Caveman’s Club vs. The Modern Neighbor

Protecting one’s property is an innate impulse that dates back to the beginnings of man.  The cavemen defended their caves with clubs and rocks.  It remains unclear whether cavemen also went to community meetings and objected to an increase in density at the neighboring cave.  The question is: how similar is an Advisory Neighborhood Commission (“ANC”) meeting or Party Status in Opposition in the District to the Caveman’s Club? Here, in DC in the 21st Century, property owners do not need a club because they are emboldened by the ANCs and other legislative ways to oppose development.  The District’s ANCs were created by the DC Council in 1976 to give neighbors an important voice in the District’s zoning process.  Under

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized
Subscribe For Updates


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