Sunday, May 31, 2009

Didn't Know That

Matt Yglesias debunks an urban rumor that I myself believed was true: that the building height restriction in DC has something to do with the height of the Washington Monument or the Capitol. Turns out, it's far more mundane:
The actual rule is that a building can be no more than 20 feet taller than the width of the street it’s on. Given that DC folks both seem very attached to the policy and also mistaken as to what the policy is, I’ve often wanted to propose that we actually adopt the rule that people think we have, limiting buildings to the height of the Washington Monument. This would approximately triple the permitted density in the central business district.
I had no idea it was that simple, and thinking about it, I pretty much agree with Matt. DC is an incredibly popular city, lots of people want to live there, and artificially limiting building height like this is an example of zoning run amok.

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