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Posted at 3:13 PM ET, 07/21/2010

Historic committee breaks with D.C. tradition

By David Alpert

Additional floors on top of historic rowhouses, sometimes called "pop-ups," are one of the most reviled modifications outside historic districts. And for good reason: they're typically ugly, cheap, and stick out like sore thumbs not just for their height but for the use of materials totally incompatible with the old houses.

Meanwhile, local historic boards are also known for being stalwart opponents of nearly all change, no matter how meritorious. After all, they typically attract people who like the neighborhood exactly the way it is and would just as soon it stayed exactly the same forever.

Therefore, it might be particularly surprising that the Dupont Circle Conservancy, the neighborhood historic review organization in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, endorsed an addition of a third floor atop a historic rowhouse at the corner of 15th and S, NW.

They wouldn't approve an addition to most houses. But historic review can ensure that additions don't look like that, while at least in limited circumstances, allowing the growth of the buildings themselves.

The attitudes among preservationists for and against this change highlight two different philosophies of preservation, and the DCC's support for this change reveals an evolution in preservation in DC from one to the other.

Continue reading this piece by David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington here.

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By David Alpert  | July 21, 2010; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, housing  
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Does Mr. Alpert have a point here?
I'm not sure approving one renovation qualifies as an "evolution." If there is one rule in politics, it is that it gets more personal, the smaller the unit of government. This developer may very well have an "in" with this board.

Posted by: krickey7 | July 22, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

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