ANC 2B Wants Scottish Rite Temple to Protect Green Space

by Borderstan.com June 19, 2013 at 10:00 am 5 Comments

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

Editor’s Note: The posting of this article generated interest in this topic and comments on the City Paper Housing Blog and Greater Greater Washington Breakfast Links. As a result, the architect involved re-examined whether a zoning variance for reduced parking is actually necessary. The answer seems to be “no,” because the building was built before 1959, the year the current zoning regime went into effect. Thank you to readers for their help.


Scottish Rite Temple at 16th and S Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont modified a resolution last week in hopes of protecting the green space facing 15th Street NW behind the Scottish Rite Temple (1733 16th Street).

The modification was part of a larger resolution to endorse the general facelift for the 97-year-old building and its surrounding grounds. ANC 2B’s Zoning, Preservation and Development (ZPD) Committee approved the general renovation plan in a meeting the previous week.

The Scottish Rite Temple reportedly supports preserving the green space as well. However, DC zoning requirements specify that a building of the Scottish Rite Temple’s size have more than 100 parking spaces available.

Currently, there are less than 50 spaces, which are used by the Temple’s permanent staff. In order to satisfy the parking requirement, the Temple would have to pave over its entire property to the street. It does not wish to do so. On the occasions when the Temple is full to near-capacity, it uses shuttle buses from nearby hotels and other locations to ferry participants to the site.

To preserve its green space, the Temple will require a zoning variance.

At the previous week’s ZPD meeting, representatives of Hartman-Cox Architects said that part of the green space will have to be given up temporarily to serve as a staging area and space for temporary office trailers connected with the renovation. But after the renovation is complete, the plan is return the space to its original condition.

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  • LoganRes

    I wonder how this would be affected by the comprehensive zoning re-write? Sad that we can’t get the outdated code updated because of a few crazies afraid of lower parking restrictions.

  • Pmc

    What can the community do to support the variance to keep the greenspace?

  • David McAuley

    Leo Dwyer, ANC 2B Commissioner and head of zoning committee, replies:


    The Scottish Rite Temple has not presented their official request for a zoning variance for parking relief.

    If and when the applicant does, it will be posted on the ZPD and the ANC agendas.

    Residents are always welcome to communicate their concerns to their commissioner directly and/or at the ZPD and ANC meetings.

    end quote

    ANC 2B’s website:


    The website has email addresses for Dwyer and all other commissioners.

  • EH

    It sounds as if the renovations are not substantial and are not resulting in a change of use or major expansion…. Are we absolutely sure that this actually rises up to the level of requiring the pre-existing condition to be brought up to comply? I’m not sure this is correct…

    Even if it does, I think there will be enough support to seek and receive the variance of requested.

    • Lance

      EH, I’m baffled too that anyone would think this renovation would trigger retro active enforcement. Also, aren’t private associations exempt? And I know historic buildings are exempt. I smell a rat here. Someone at OP is trying to use this to further their cause to reduce our parking minimums in Kline with third world countries.


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