The height of D.C.’s buildings have long been regulated by the Height Act of 1910, which limits a building’s height to the width of the street or avenue on which the property fronts. After analyzing the economic impact of these restrictions, DC’s Office of Planning (OP) is proposing raising the height limit within the city and eliminating restrictions outside of Washington proper. The new proposal recommends increases the building height standards from the current 1:1 ratio to a 1:1.25 ratio, which would allow for 200-foot buildings along some of the city’s widest boulevards.
The OP estimates that between $62 million and $115 million in additional tax revenue could be generated over the next 20 years by allowing higher corporate, commerical and residential buildings. They also argue that modifying the Height Act is necessary to accommodate population growth and increased job numbers, which they believe will require between 157 million and 317 million additional square feet by 2040. If this proposed change to the Height Act were to take effect, viewsheds would be established to protect iconic landmarks, leaving views of the Capitol, White House and Washington Monument unobstructed.