Thursday, October 23, 2014

How is Mount Pleasant Zoned?

Planning and zoning are two disciplines that I've always been overly obsessed with. Each straddles the line between public and private domains with a creation process that involves municipal specialists, but also input from the community at large. Zoning is also not permanent. As time goes on, there are variances offered for specific plots, and the zoning for a certain block, or section of a neighborhood can change in order to foster development or make way for new land uses. 

Mount Pleasant has a fairly simple zoning pattern, unlike neighboring Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan. There are only four zones in Mount Pleasant. 

About 80% of the neighborhood, the western part next to Rock Creek, is zoned as R-4. This designation permits "..development of single-family residential uses (including detached, semi-detached, row dwellings, and flats), churches and public schools with a minimum lot width of 18 feet...and a maximum height of three (3) stories/forty (40) feet (60 feet for churches and schools and 45 feet for public recreation and community centers).

A smaller area on and around the 1600 block of Park Rd is zoned R-5-B. It's similar to R-4, but allows for apartment buildings, taller structures in general, and smaller rear yards.

The commercial strip along Mount Pleasant Street NW is zoned C-2-A. It permits "...low density development, including office employment centers, shopping centers, medium-bulk mixed use centers, and housing...and a maximum height of fifty (50) feet.

The fourth zoned area of Mount Pleasant includes all the buildings along 16th Street NW, including the Woodner, the Northbrooks, and the Kenesaw.. R-5-D permits "medium/high density development of general residential uses, including single-family dwellings, flats, and apartment buildings... and a maximum height of ninety (90) feet (45 feet for public recreation and community centers)."

That's it for Mount Pleasant. We're comprised of just four zoning codes, three of which are in the residential land use category. If you'd like to drill down and look at a particular building or lot, you can do so via the DC Office of Zoning interactive map: The zoning abbreviation explanations are here. Pretty cool!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Adams Morgan Named an APA Great Place

18th Street NW / Adams Morgan / Washington DC
DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood was recently named as one of the American Planning Association's Great Places in America, under the Neighborhood category. APA's Great Places are described as: 

"... places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow."

Adams Morgan is definitely one of the District's historic and vibrant neighborhoods. It's gotten some needed attention over the last five years in the streetscape and transportation departments. And it remains the definition of mixed-use with a healthy fabric of residential, commercial, institutional, and open/public space land uses.

I also have to give a shout out to my hometown of Richmond, VA, whose Fan neighborhood also made the list. The Fan was the neighborhood lived in (Floyd Ave!) before moving to the District over a decade ago, and I can vouch for its place on this list! 

RVA & DC: Great American cities with great neighborhoods.
Corner of Harrison and Grace Streets / The Fan / Richmond

Monday, October 20, 2014

McClellan's Retreat to Open in Dupont

A new cocktail bar will be opening near Dupont Circle. McClellan's Retreat (named after the Union Civil War general, whose equestrian statue is nearby) is located at 2031 Florida Avenue NW. This space was previously home to Veritas Wine Bar. It's just a few doors down form Russia House and a stone's throw from the Washington Hilton Hotel.

The McClellan's Retreat website describes the new venue as "...a place to retire, retreat, a place to saddle up to the bar and enjoy a lovingly made cocktail, a strong drink, a savory snack and a bit of conversation." The online menu isn't quite filled out, but does include classic cocktails like the Manhattan, the Rickey, and the old fashioned. The listed hours are 4:00 PM - 2:00 AM, daily. 

No word on opening date, but they were working hard to put on the finishing touches when I peeked in late last week. Good luck McClellan's Retreat!

Friday, October 17, 2014

DC Needs Danceoffs

What DC needs is danceoffs. I really want to live in a world where strangers can dance challenge other strangers and you know what, it'd be considered perfectly normal. Dance skills are like social skills: you have to practice, but once you get going you develop your own style and eventually get really good at it. Or not. But, unlike social skills, you ALWAYS get an A+ for dance effort.

Danceoff needs to replace all other forms of human to human contact. Neighbor's party too loud? Don't call the cops. DANCEOFF. No rules Tuesday? DANCEOFF. Slow-walking tourists blocking the sidewalk? No more passive aggressive "Excuuuuuse me!" DANCEOFF. 20 minute wait for a late night train. Definitely DANCEOFF. Someone's car blocking the bike lane? DANCEOFF. OK, you get it right?

My dancing style is a cross between Robyn and Tight Eyes, honed at top shelf dance academies like Neal The Angel's 80s Party at Club Heaven, various Friday nights at Black Cat back stage, and late night in-front-of-the-computer critical study of routines like the one below, which I legit have 90% memorized. See you on the street corner! And be ready!