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D.C. Building Heights Rule Could Be Relaxed

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D.C.'s building heights rule, enacted decades ago to preserve city vistas of landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol, shown here, could be relaxed in the coming years.
Dave Reid: (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davereid/4735522368/)
D.C.'s building heights rule, enacted decades ago to preserve city vistas of landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol, shown here, could be relaxed in the coming years.

For more than a century, height restrictions in D.C. have limited buildings to about 12 stories. But now, a leading House Republican and some District leaders are looking to change that.

Advocates say easing the restrictions only slightly could open up new opportunities for commercial real estate developers and accommodate the city's swelling population. But the restrictions have long been guarded by preservationists because they ensure unobstructed views of landmarks including the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.

Mayor Vincent Gray and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the district in Congress, have spoken recently to Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), about easing the height restrictions, as was first reported by the Washington Post.

Issa, who chairs the committee that oversees the District, has indicated he plans to introduce a bill before the end of the year. 

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