Section 11-U301. MATTER-OF-RIGHT USES (RF)  

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  • 301.1 The following uses shall be permitted as a matter of right in an RF zone subject to any applicable conditions:

    (a) Any use permitted in the R zones under Subtitle U §§ 201 and 202;

    (b) Residential flats with a maximum number of principal dwelling units as follows:




    RF Zone

    Number of Principal

    Dwelling Units











    (c) A permitted principal dwelling unit within an accessory building subject to the following conditions of:

    (a) The accessory building was in existence on January 1, 2013;

    (b) No expansion or addition may be made to the accessory building to accommodate an apartment except as a special exception;

    (c) There shall be permanent access to the accessory building dwelling from a dedicated and improved right of way; and

    (d) Permanent access shall be provided by one (1) of the following:

    (1) An easement for a permanent passage, open to the sky, no narrower than eight feet (8 ft.) in width, and extending from the accessory building to a public street through a side setback recorded in the land records of the District of Columbia;

    (2) Through an improved public alley with a minimum width of twenty-four feet (24 ft.) that connects to a public street; or

    (3) On an improved alley no less than fifteen feet (15 ft.) in width and within a distance of three hundred (300) linear feet of a public street;

    (d) An accessory building that houses a principal dwelling unit shall not have a roof deck;

    (e) An accessory building constructed as a matter-of-right after January 1, 2013, and that is located within a required setback shall not be used as, or converted to, a dwelling unit for a period of five (5) years after the approval of the building permit for the accessory building, unless approved as a special exception;

    (f) An accessory building that houses a principal dwelling unit shall not be used simultaneously for any accessory use other than as a private vehicle garage for a dwelling unit on the lot, storage, or as an artist studio; and

    (g) Any proposed expansion of an accessory building for residential purposes shall be permitted only as a special exception approval pursuant to Subtitle X, and shall be evaluated against the standards of this section.

    (h) A boarding house subject to the following conditions:

    (1) No more than eight (8) total persons shall live on the premises;

    (2) Accommodations are not provided to transient guests who stay less than ninety (90) days at the premises;

    (3) No sign is displayed on the premises;

    (4) No advertisement is displayed or published on or off the premises holding out the establishment to be a hotel, motel, inn, hostel, bed and breakfast, private club, tourist home, guest house, or other transient accommodation; and

    (5) Cooking facilities are not provided in any individual unit;

    (i) A corner store use subject to the matter-of-right conditions of Subtitle U § 254;

    (j) Any uses permitted within a District of Columbia former public school building subject to the matter-of-right conditions of Subtitle U § 252;

    (k) Medical care uses; and 


    (l) A multiple dwelling in Squares 2580, 2581, 2582, 2583, 2584, 2586W, 2587, or 2589, in existence as of December 14, 2015 with a valid certificate of occupancy, or a building permit application for a multiple dwelling that was officially accepted by DCRA as being complete prior to December 14, 2015, provided that the multiple dwelling shall not be expanded in gross floor area, lot occupancy, number of stories, building height, penthouse height, or number of units. Said multiple dwelling, however, may be repaired, renovated, remodeled, or structurally altered.


    301.2 Conversion of an existing non-residential building or structure to an apartment house shall be permitted as a matter of right in an RF-1, RF-2, or RF-3 zone subject to the following conditions:


    (a)The building or structure to be converted is in existence on the property at the time of filing an application for a building permit;


    (b)The maximum height of any addition to the existing structure shall not exceed thirty-five feet (35 ft.);


    (c)There shall be a minimum of nine hundred square feet (900 sq. ft.) of land area per dwelling unit;


    (d)An addition shall not extend further than ten feet (10 ft.) past the furthest rear wall of any principal residential building on an adjacent property;


     (e)A roof top architectural element original to the structure such as cornices, porch roofs, a turret, tower, or dormers shall not be removed or significantly altered, including shifting its location, changing its shape or increasing its height, elevation, or size. For interior lots, not including through lots, the roof top architectural elements shall not include identified roof top architectural elements facing the structure’s rear lot line.  For all other lots, the roof top architectural elements shall include identified rooftop architectural elements on all sides of the structure


    (f)Any addition, including a roof structure or penthouse, shall not block or impede the functioning of a chimney or other external vent compliant with any District of Columbia municipal code on an adjacent property. A chimney or other external vent must be existing and operative at the date of the building permit application for the addition;


                           (g)Any addition, including a roof structure or penthouse, shall not significantly interfere with the operation of an existing solar energy system of at least 2kW on an adjacent property unless agreed to by the owner of the adjacent solar energy system. For the purposes of this paragraph the following quoted phrases shall have the associated meaning: 


    (1)“Significantly interfere” shall mean an impact caused solely by the addition that decreases the energy produced by the adjacent solar energy system by more than five percent (5%) on an annual basis, as demonstrated by a comparative solar shading study acceptable to the Zoning Administrator; and


    (2)“Existing solar energy system” shall mean a solar energy system that is, at the time the application for the building permit for the adjacent addition is officially accepted as complete by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs or an application for zoning relief or approval for the adjacent addition is officially accepted as complete by the Office of Zoning, either:


    (A)Legally permitted, installed, and operating; or


    (B) Authorized by an issued permit; provided that the permitted solar energy system is operative within six (6) months after the issuance of the solar energy system permit not including grid interconnection delays caused solely by a utility company connecting to the solar energy system; and


    (h)An apartment house in an RF-1, RF-2, or RF-3 zone converted from a non-residential building prior to June 26, 2015, shall be considered a conforming use and structure, but shall not be permitted to expand, either structurally or through increasing the number of units, unless approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment pursuant to Subtitle X, Chapter 9, and Subtitle U § 320.3.




§ 1 of the Zoning Act of 1938, approved June 20, 1938 (52 Stat. 797, as amended; D.C. Official Code § 6-641.01 (2012 Repl.)).


Final Rulemaking published at 63 DCR 2447, 3338 (March 4, 2016 – Part 2); as amended by Final Rulemaking published at 63 DCR 12366 (October 7, 2016); as amended by Final Rulemaking published at 64 DCR 4055 (April 28, 2017).