Zoning Handbook

Gallery, Display: An establishment that displays and may sell art, but that does not derive more than fifty percent (50%) of its income from the display and sale of objects of art.

Gallery, Retail: An establishment that derives more than fifty percent (50%) of its income from the display and sale of objects of art.

Garage, Automated Parking: A building or other structure in which parking is accomplished entirely by means of shuttles, platforms, dollies, and mechanisms to lift platforms as needed that move vehicles around and where such movement is controlled by computers. The facility may be self-service or it may be staffed to accept payment or observe operations where vehicles enter or exit the automated
environment. May also be a public garage.

Garage, Parking: A building or other structure, or part of a building or structure, not exceeding nine hundred square feet (900 sq. ft.) in area, used for the parking of motor vehicles and having no repair or service facilities.

Garage, Public: A building or other structure, or part of a building or structure, over nine hundred square feet (900 sq. ft.) in area, used for the parking of one (1) or more motor vehicles and having no repair or service facilities.

Garage, Repair: A building or other structure, or part of a building or structure, with facilities for the repair of motor vehicles, including body and fender repair, painting, rebuilding, reconditioning, upholstering, equipping, or other motor vehicle maintenance or repair.

Gasoline Service Station: An area of land, including any structures on the area, used for the retail sale of motor fuel and lubricants and incidental services such as lubrication and hand-washing of motor vehicles, and the sale, installation, or minor repair of tires, batteries, or other automobile accessories. The term gasoline service station shall not include a car wash or a repair garage.

Glass, Clear and/or Low-Emissivity: Glass with a visible light transmission rating of at least seventy percent (70%) and an outdoor visible light reflectance rating of no greater than seventeen percent (17%).

Grade, Finished: The elevation of the ground directly abutting the perimeter of a building or structure.

Grade, Natural: The undisturbed elevation of the ground of a lot prior to human intervention; or where there are existing improvements on a lot, the established elevation of the ground, exclusive of the improvements or adjustments to the grade made in the two (2) years prior to applying for a building permit; natural grade may not include manually constructed berms or other forms of artificial landscaping.

Green Area Ratio: Ratio of the weighted value of landscape elements to lot area. See Also: Subtitle C, Chapter 6.

Grocery Store: A use whose primary business is the sale of fresh produce and food products. At least fifty percent (50%) of customer-accessible sales and display area is used for the sale of a general line of food products intended for home preparation and consumption, and at least thirty percent (30%) of retail space is for perishable goods that include dairy, fresh produce, fresh meats, poultry, fish and frozen foods. Groceries represent the majority of the sales in a grocery store although there may be accessory uses such as prepared food and drink, pharmaceuticals, and bank services.

Group Instruction Center or Studio: An establishment that principally offers group instruction in the performing arts, the martial arts, physical exercise, or yoga.

Habitable Room: An undivided enclosed space used for living, sleeping, or kitchen facilities. The term “habitable room” shall not include attics, cellars, corridors, hallways, laundries, serving or storage pantries, bathrooms, or similar space; neither shall it include mechanically ventilated interior kitchens less than one hundred square feet (100 sq. ft.) in area, nor kitchens in commercial establishments.

Health Care Facility: A facility that meets the definition for and is licensed under the District of Columbia Health Care and Community Residence Facility, Hospice and Home Care Licensure Act of 1983, as amended, D.C. Code § 32-1301 et seq. (1993 Repl. Vol.)

Height Act: The Act to Regulate the Height of Buildings in the District of Columbia, approved June 1, 1910, as amended (36 Stat. 452; D.C. Official Code §§ 6-601.01 to 6-601.09 (2012 Repl.)).

Height, Floor-to-Ceiling Clear: The vertical distance measured from the finished floor to the finished ceiling that is unobstructed by any of the following:

  1. Elements of the building structure other than columns and walls; 
  2. Components of mechanical, plumbing, or fire suppression systems; or 
  3. Components of electrical systems other than lighting fixtures. 

If the ceiling is not finished, the distance shall be measured to the lowest point of any of the structural elements of systems referenced in (a), (b), or (c) above.

Historic District: An area listed as an historic district in the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites, or which the State Historic Preservation Officer has nominated or issued a written determination to nominate to the National Register of Historic Places after a public hearing before the Historic Preservation Review Board.

Historic Landmark: A building, structure, object or feature, and its site, or a site that is listed in the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites, or for which an application for listing is pending with the Historic Preservation Review Board (provided the statutory time period for consideration of the application has not expired). Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978: An Act adopted
by the City Council effective March 3, 1979, as amended (D.C. Law 2-144; D.C. Official Code §§ 6-1101 to 6-1115 (2012 Repl.)).

Historic Resource: A historic landmark or a building, structure, object or feature, and its site, that contributes to the character of a historic district, as determined in accordance with the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978.

Home Occupation: An accessory use, including a business, profession, or other economic activity, which is conducted full-time or part-time in a dwelling unit or its accessory structure that serves as the principal residence of the practitioner.

Home Sales Party: A gathering that is held at a dwelling of any kind for the purpose of selling or distributing goods or services.

Hospice: A program of in-house, outpatient, or inpatient medical nursing, counseling, bereavement, and other palliative and supportive services to terminally ill individuals and their families.

Hotel: A building or part of a building in which not less than thirty (30) habitable rooms or suites are reserved primarily for transient guests who rent the rooms or suites on a daily basis and where meals, prepared in a kitchen on the premises by the management or a concessionaire of the management, may be eaten in a dining room accommodating simultaneously not less than thirty (30) persons. The dining room shall be internally accessible from the lobby. The term "hotel" shall not be interpreted to include an apartment house, rooming house, boarding house, or private club. All areas within a hotel shall be included in one (1) of the following categories:

  1. Commercial adjuncts - retail and service establishments customarily incidental and subordinate to hotel use, such as restaurant, dining room, cocktail lounge, coffee shop, dry cleaning, laundry, pressing or tailoring establishment, florist shop, barber shop, beauty parlor, cigar or news stand, and other similar uses; 
  2. Exhibit space - floor area within a hotel primarily designed for the display and storage of exhibits for conferences, trade fairs, and similar group events; 
  3. Function room - a room within a hotel used primarily to accommodate gatherings of hotel guests and visitors, such as meetings, banquets, and other group events; 
  4. Guestroom areas - floor area within a hotel devoted to guestrooms or suites, including individual bathrooms, entrance foyers, corridors, elevators, stairs, floor pantries, and other space directly supportive of guestrooms. The main lobby, front desk, and hotel administrative offices are also included in guestroom areas for purposes of pro-rating floor area between residential and nonresidential uses in applicable zones; and 
  5. Service areas - floor area within a hotel devoted to mechanical services and storage supportive of the hotel as a total entity, including boiler room, mechanical platforms, electrical switchboard, workshops and maintenance areas, storage areas, employee facilities (locker rooms, canteen, and engineer's office), and similar uses.

Household: Shall be defined as one of the following:

  1. One (1) family related by blood, marriage, adoption, or foster agreement; 
  2. Not more than six (6) persons who are not so related, living together as a single house-keeping unit; 
  3. A religious community having not more than fifteen (15) members; or 
  4. A residential facility providing housing for up to six (6) persons with disabilities and two (2) care givers. For purposes of this subsection, a "disability" means, with respect to a person, a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one (1) or more of such person's major life activities, or a record of having, or being regarded as having, such an impairment, but such item does not include current, illegal use of a controlled substance.