Ice sales, penny arcades and telegraph offices may soon be joined by yoga studios, or perhaps cloning stations, in zoning districts across the city starting this year. A new set of codes went into effect last week, following nearly 10 years of work by the D.C. Office of Zoning. The less granular codes allow for modern and ever-changing business types, rather than specifying the business types permitted in each zone, lists that hadn’t been updated since 1958.
The new codes also relax stringent residential codes, now allowing certain types of unattached dwelling units, increased residential use of alley lots and more small corner stores in row-house zones. Changes were also made to the parking requirements for new projects.
The changes may also result in more healthful food options across the District, since the definition of “fast food” and the criteria for meeting the definition have been modified. Freshly prepared food — served in a recyclable disposable container — is no longer in the same category as a Whopper with cheese, for example.