GM thought he’d use today to share with you a tool he uses quite frequently in his research: the Office of Zoning’s Zoning Map.
This is a simple Google Maps utility that allows you to zoom down into any property in the District and quickly find out useful information.
As you zoom in to any particular property you start to learn certain things. First you’ll see was zoning district the property is in. For instance, most of Georgetown is R-3 (rowhouses), but the commercial strips are C-2-A, and some of the north east sections are R-5 (detached houses). Interestingly there’s a fourth major zone in Georgetown: W (Waterfront). The only other areas of the city with this peculiar zone are around Buzzards Point and Anacostia.
Zoom in further and you’ll see the Square number (i.e. the block number). This is the official ID the city has for a particular block. Zoom in further and you see the lot number. Someone once told GM that if the lot number is a small number from 1 to 200 or so, it is a lot that has been surveyed. If it’s in the 800 range, it hasn’t.
At this zoom, you can see the lot boundaries. This is interesting information in its own right, either because the property is oddly shaped (or a lot bigger than you thought) or because it reflects the history of the property. For instance, look at the photo above. It shows the map of the area around M and Wisconsin. At the left, you can see Dogget’s parking lot. You can see how the property is actually seven different lots, likely reflecting the fact that there used to be a row of buildings there (in 1905 there were four buildings at the west end of what is now the parking lot).
Finally, once you click on a particular lot, a window opens with several tabs. The first tab lists summary information about the lot’s zone. The second tab lists the lot’s location. It lists the square and lot numbers, the physical address, the owner’s name, and the owner’s address. It also shows a photo of the property from around 2004.
The third tab lists any relevant BZA case that affects the lot. It even links to the decision.
Finally, the fourth tab lists what councilmember represents the lot, what ANC it’s in and what ANC commissioner represents it.
All in all, a pretty handy and informative tool.