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: http://zmap.dcoz.dc.gov/. The zoning abbreviation explanations are here. Pretty cool!