Zoning Handbook

The purposes of the Georgetown Residential House R-20 zone are to:

  • Protect the Georgetown National Historic Landmark District and its historic character, buildings and open space in a manner consistent with the goals and mandates of the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978, and the Old Georgetown Act, approved September 22, 1950 (64 Stat. 903; D.C. Official Code §§ 6-1201-1206);
  • Protect the integrity of “contributing buildings,” as that term is defined by the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978;
  • Recognize the compatibility of any development with the purposes of the Old Georgetown Act and the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978;
  • Limit permitted ground coverage of new and expanded buildings and other construction to encourage a general compatibility between the siting of new or expanded buildings and the existing neighborhood; and
  • Retain the quiet residential character of these areas and control compatible nonresidential uses.

The R-20 zone is intended to retain and reinforce the unique mix of housing types including detached, semi-detached and attached dwellings and permit attached row houses on small lots, and includes areas where attached houses are mingled with detached houses and semi-detached houses.

r-20
Development Standards
Height (ft.) /
Stories 1, 2, 3
Minimum Lot Width (ft.) Minimum Lot Area (sq. ft.) Lot Occupancy Front Setback Rear Yard (ft.) Side Yard (ft.)4 Previous Surface (min.) Zoning Regulation Reference
R-20 35 40 (detached) 4,000 (detached) 40% (detached) A front setback consistent with at least one (1) of the immediately adjacent properties on either side 20 A minimum side yard of five feet (5 ft.) shall be provided for all buildings other than attached buildings. 20% Subtitle D, Chapter 12
30 (semi-detached) 3,000 (semi-detached) 40% (semi-detached)
3 20 (attached) 2,000 (attached) 60% (attached)
16 (IZ attached) 1,600 (IZ attached)

Use Permissions Parking Inclusionary Zoning
Subtitle U, Chapter 2 Subtitle C, Chapter 7 Subtitle C, Chapter 10
R- Use Group C

1 Institutional buildings or structures may be erected to a height not exceeding 90 ft., not including the penthouse, provided that the building or structure shall be removed from all lot lines of its lot a distance of not less than 1 ft. for each foot of height in excess of that authorized in the zone in which it is located.
2 In R-19 and R-20 zones, a building may have a maximum height of no more than 40 ft. only if a property adjacent on either side has a building height of 40 ft. or greater. The maximum height of a building in the R-19 and R-20 zones shall be measured to the height point of the roof or a parapet which is not a required firewall.
3 In R-19 and R-20 zones, any parapet, pergola, railing, or similar roof structure, or penthouse shall not exceed the permitted building height by more than 4 ft.
4 In the R-19 zone, a building with a side yard less than required may be extended or an addition may be made to the building, provided, that the width of the existing side yard shall not be decreased; and provided further, that the width of the existing side yard shall be a minimum of 5 ft. In R-19 and R-20 zones, a 2 or more story addition to a principal building which has an existing second story side yard shall not exceed the vertical plane of that yard for the length of the second story addition. An institutional building or structure may be erected to a height not exceeding 90 ft., not including the penthouse, provided that the building or structure shall be removed from all lot lines of its lot a distance of not less than 1 ft. for each foot of height in excess of that authorized in the zone in which it is located. A non-residential building constructed pursuant to Subtitle D § 1102.6 shall be permitted a mechanical penthouse to a maximum height of 18 ft. 6 in.