Stop the Tower


Permit revocation

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

Office of the Director

October 10, 2000

Robert Clayton Cooper
Jackson and Campbell
1120 Twentieth Street, N.W., South Tower
Washington, D.C. 20036

FINAL NOTICE RESCINDING AND CANCELING BUILDING PERMIT NUMBERS B425271, B420358, B429362, B42754, B427534, B425352, B423438, B427157, B426691, AND B428792, AND PLUMBING PERMIT NUMBER B412508 AND B416480

Dear Mr. Cooper:

My consideration of your letter dated October 10, 2000, and the additional review of the file and plans confirm that the permits were issued in error, and that certain necessary processes (i.e. referring the applicant to the BZA, considering the excess height. determining environmental impact, and ensuring compliance with corporate and tax requirements) did not occur at the time of permit review. I will address the issues you raised in your response.

1. Side Yard Setback

The portion of the Notice that addressed the side yard setback did not pertain to the addition, but to the tower. Therefore, the first part of your argument is irrelevant. As to the tower, your original plans depict side yard setbacks of 5.04 and 4.93 feet. Therefore, your allegation that the Zoning Administrator required a ten foot setback is also irrelevant because a side yard was originally provided by your plans. In any event, 11 DCMR 775.5 (Side Yards) does not distinguish how a side yard is "provided". The side yard setback must be satisfied however it is "provided." Finally, the fact that a portion of your structure may rise only to one foot is irrelevant where the entire connected structure is to reach 756 feet.

2. Height Act

The Height Act was enacted by Congress and is separate and distinct from the Zoning Acts of 1920 and 1938, and the building Code. The authority to grant an exception is a matter of high importance, both as to the aesthetics of the District of Columbia and the safety of its citizens, and therefore requires a separate and distinct action. You cite no order of DCRA which subdelegated this authority below the level of the Director. The fact that this building permit bears the DCRA's Director's typed name does not substitute for or create such a subdelegation.

3. Environmental Impact

A review of your permit application and plans does not provide a basis for the exception you claim exists. In particular, your claim of no additional capacity is not credible given the increase in height and newer design of this structure.

4 and 5, Failure to Register to Conduct Business and Failure to Register as a Corporation

Based on the Department's records, the corporation is not authorized to conduct business in the District of Columbia. Additionally, our records indicate that the corporation is not properly registered with the Office of Tax and Revenue.

Based on the foregoing, the above-referenced permit was issued in error and is void ab initio. The District is not required to stand by and permit a structure to continue to be built pursuant to invalid permits issued in violation of the Zoning Act and Regulations, the Height Act, the Building Code, and its environmental, corporate, and tax laws, even where the issuance of the invalid permit may have resulted, in whole or in part, from errors made by this Department.

Therefore my decision to rescind the permits indicated in the Notice of October 5, 2000, stands. I ordered that the Notice become effective as of 5:00 p.m. October 10, 2000. Since you do not have valid permits you are to cease all work immediately and secure the site by 7.00 p.m. October 12, 2000.

Please be advised that you have a right to challenge this Notice. In order to exercise this right, you must appeal the portion of the Notice that is based upon the inadequate side yard setback to the Board of Zoning Adjustment. The remaining issues are to be appealed to the Board of Appeals and Review.

In order to exercise this right, you must file written requests for bearings with the appropriate Board. A timely appeal to the Board of Zoning Adjustment must be filed with the Board at 441 4th Street, S.W., Suite 210 South, Washington, D.C. 20001, (202)727-4311. Any appeal to the Board of Appeals and Review must be made within ten (10 days) of your receipt of this Notice. An appeal to the D.C. Board of Appeals and Review must be filed with the Board at 441 4th Street, NW., Suite S40 South, Washington, D.C. 20001.


Carlynn Fuller,
Acting Director

cc: Michael D. Johnson, Acting Administrator, HERA
Robert Warren, General Counsel, DCRA
Theresa W. Lewis, Deputy Director of Operations
Alan Bergstein, OCC
Karen M. Edwards, Esq., Program Manager, OCOM/ENFD
Robert Rigsby, Corporation Counsel, OCC
Eric Price, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

941 North Capitol Street, N.E., Suite 9500, Washington, D.C. 20002
Phone: (202) 442-8947 Fax. (202) 442.9445


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