SL 06-089


1769 North Portal Drive, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Single-family residence
New single-family dwelling
Review Type


Dear Ms. Vu:

In the meeting of 18 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed single-family dwelling at 1773 North Portal Drive, NW (case number SL 06-084) as shown in drawings received and dated 5 May 2006. The Commission recommended against the issuance of permit for the proposed house.

In their review of the project, the Commission members found that the design of the proposed house on its lot is contrary to the existing character of residential properties in their relationship to the street and the larger context of Rock Creek Park. Properties in the neighborhood have been developed with ample private open space surrounding the individual houses, thus creating a visual link to Rock Creek Park. However, the proposed residence is sited on a flag lot with the buildable area of the site set far back from North Portal Drive, leaving its only relationship to the street and the park through a narrow strip of property dominated by a driveway. The impression is that the house is not like its neighbors, but rather appears to be located in the rear yard of the house immediately in front of it; furthermore, its three-story height gives the house the appearance of looming over the adjacent houses. The Commission therefore concluded that the project is inappropriate in this particular context.

Many issues in this case have resulted from the District of Columbia’s zoning and subdivision process which are not within the purview of the U. S. Commission of Fine Arts. The Commission recognizes that the design of any structure on this site is greatly constrained by the size, shape, and context of this newly subdivided lot in relation to the neighboring houses and Rock Creek Park.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the staff.


/s/Thomas Luebke, AIA

Minh Vu
704 West View Terrace
Alexandria, VA 22301

cc: Lennox Douglas, DCRA