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Planning Commission Holds Hearings On Relaxing Height Limits

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The D.C. skyline could look different if height restrictions are relaxed.
Evan Chu: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16371113@N00/5340860078/
The D.C. skyline could look different if height restrictions are relaxed.

A federal panel is kicking off a second round of public hearings Wednesday on whether to allow buildings in the District to grow taller.

Under a law dating back to the early 1900s, buildings in D.C. can't grow beyond 160 feet — roughly 15 stories. But now the National Capital Planning Commission and D.C.'s Office of Planning are exploring just how the city would change if those height restrictions were loosened.

The commission will start a second round of public hearings by presenting two studies: one assessing how taller buildings would affect D.C.'s economy, and a second showing just what the city's skyline would look like if height restrictions were changed.

City officials say taller buildings would offer more density and economic opportunities, but critics worry that New York-style skyscrapers could ruin the city s otherwise open skyline.

The hearings will run through August, and the commission's study is expected to be wrapped up by the fall. Its recommendations will then be sent to Congress.

The schedule of hearings is below:

Saturday, August 3, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Tenleytown-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Tuesday, August 6, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Dorothy I. Height/Benning Library, 3935 Benning Road, NE

Wednesday, August 7, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m
Mt. Pleasant Library, 3160 16th Street, NW

Saturday, August 10, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Catholic University, Crough Center, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE

Tuesday, August 13, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
District Office of Planning, 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor Conference Room


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