Chanceries within the International Center

Adopted June 3, 1971 and amended on April 8, 1976; November 2, 1978; June 8, 1979; August 2, 1979; October 4, 1979; March 1, 1984; September 5, 1985; November 1, 1990; July 31, 1997; and October 5, 2000

Established pursuant to the International Center Act (Public Law 90-553, approved October 8, 1968, as amended by Public Law 97-186, approved May 15, 1982)

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

100.00 DEFINITIONS

200.00 DESCRIPTION OF CHANCERY SECTION

300.00 DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES

310.00 General Objectives
320.00 Specific Objectives


400.00 SITE PREPARATION

410.00 Existing Site Improvements
420.00 Proposed Site Improvements
430.00 Information to Be Furnished


500.00 DEVELOPMENT CONTROLS

510.00 Permitted Uses
520.00 Heights of Buildings
530.00 Floor Area Ratio
540.00 Lot Occupancy
550.00 Building Frontage and Setbacks
560.00 Off-Street Parking
570.00 Access Drives
580.00 Off-Street Loading
590.00 Open Spaces


600.00 LANDSCAPING

610.00 Fences and Retaining Walls
620.00 Design and Treatment of Roofs
630.00 Signs
640.00 Storage and Disposal of Solid Wastes
650.00 Public and Private Utilities
660.00 Outdoor Lighting
670.00 Antennae and Microwave Equipment
680.00 Surface Drainage


700.00 SITE AND BUILDING PLANS

710.00 Preparation of Preliminary and Final Plans
720.00 Review and Approval by Commission
730.00 Review and Approval by the Commission of Fine Arts

800.00 ADDITIONS TO, OR REPLACEMENT OF, BUILDINGS AND IMPROVEMENTS

100.00 DEFINITIONS

101.00 The following terms, whenever used herein shall, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, be construed to have the following meaning:

101.01 "Building Area" means the maximum horizontal projected area of a building and its accessory buildings. The term includes all side yards and open courts less than five feet in width and all closed courts less than six feet in width. The term does not include projections into open space, except outside balconies, and portions of a building which do not extend above the level of the main floor of the building or more than eight (8) feet above natural grade, if so placed as not to obstruct light and ventilation of the building or buildings and landscaping on adjoining property. The term also does not include those canopies which are rooflike projections from a building facade open on two or more sides and providing cover over an entrance door, provided that the total area of such canopies does not exceed ten (10) percent of the Building Area.

101.02 "Building Height" means the vertical distance measured from the level of the sidewalk opposite the middle of the front of the building to the highest point of the roof or parapet.

101.03 "Chancery" means the business offices of the diplomatic mission of a foreign government used exclusively for diplomatic and consular functions or the business offices of an international organization.

101.04 "Chancery Section" means the area within which the Secretary of State is authorized to sell or lease property to foreign governments for legation purposes and to international organizations pursuant to Section 1 of Public Law 90-553, approved October 8, 1968 (82 Stat. 958), as amended by Public Law 97-186, approved May 15, 1982.

101.05 "Commission" means the National Capital Planning Commission.

101.06 "Embassy" means the residence of an ambassador or other chief of the diplomatic mission of a foreign government or of a permanent representative of a member state to, or the principal officer of, an international organization.

101.07 "Lot" means the land bounded by definite lines which, when occupied or to be occupied by a building or structure or accessory buildings, includes the open spaces required under these Development Controls.

101.08 "Off-Street Loading Berth" means an off-street area provided for cargo vehicles when loading and unloading, the minimum dimensions of which shall be 12 feet by 20 feet with a minimum vertical clearance of 14 feet.

101.09 "Off-Street Parking Space" means an off-street area at least nine feet in width, 19 feet in length, exclusive of access drives and aisles, ramps, and columns, and office or work area, with a vertical clearance of at least six and one half feet, accessible for and used exclusively as a storage space for a motor vehicle.

101.10 "Pergola" means an arbor type structure of an open character, no more than three sides (or ends) of which may be enclosed or covered, of which all side and roof coverings above the level of the adjacent grade must be of open latticework with no greater than fifty (50) percent of any covering surface being solid, and with which appropriate climbing shrubs or vines are planted so as to grow to cover all latticework.

102.00 Other terms used herein, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, shall be construed to have the meaning set forth in Section 1202 of the Zoning Regulations of the District of Columbia.

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200.00 DESCRIPTION OF CHANCERY SECTION

201.00 The Chancery Section is located in the Northwest section of the District of Columbia and is bounded by private property on the north, Tilden Street on the south, the University of District of Columbia and the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization headquarters on the east, and Reno Road and 36th Street on the west. The boundaries of the Chancery Section and of each Lot within the Chancery Section, as well as the location of proposed streets and public open space, are shown on a plat of subdivision bearing NCPC Map File No. 72.10(06.40)-25897, approved by the Commission on March 5, 1970, and a plat of subdivision bearing NCPC Map File No. 72.10(06.40)-30135, approved by the Commission on December 1, 1988, which are on file in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia.

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300.00 DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES

301.00 These development controls are designed to guide the development of the Chancery Section in a manner consistent with (1) the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital adopted by the Commission pursuant to the National Capital Planning Act of 1952; (2) the revised master plan for the International Center approved by the Commission on March 1, 1984 (NCPC Map File No. 72.10(05.12)-29441); (3) the special character and development potential of the Chancery Section; and (4) the character and quality of surrounding areas.

310.00 General Objectives

311.00 The general objectives are to:

311.01 Establish uniform guidelines for the design and construction of Chanceries on Lots within the Chancery Section;

311.02 Insure that development of the Chancery Section is consistent with the use of the adjacent site for the new headquarters building of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization; and

311.03 Establish and maintain a unique "character and high quality" of development for all Lots in the Chancery Section.

320.00 Specific Objectives

More specifically, the objectives of these development controls are to:

321.01 Preserve existing topography, tree cover, and natural vegetation to the maximum extent practicable;

321.02 To minimize, in conjunction with the public space improvements, stormwater runoff from the Chancery Section.

321.03 Establish a maximum height of buildings consistent with the existing skyline;

321.04 Provide sites for Chanceries which meet the building requirements of individual foreign governments and utilize as efficiently as possible the limited land area available for development;

321.05 Provide, within these uniform guidelines, maximum flexibility in the design and architectural treatment of each Chancery;

321.06 Control vehicular traffic to and from the Chancery Section especially during peak traffic hours, in view of the limited capacity of peripheral arterials; and

321.07 Provide adequate on and off-street vehicular parking capacity within the Chancery Section to avoid "overspill" parking on surrounding residential streets.

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400.00 SITE PREPARATION

410.00 Existing Site Improvements

411.00 All existing buildings and improvements within the Chancery Section, except streets and/or utilities which are designated to remain to serve the site, will be demolished and removed or caused to be demolished and removed by the Secretary of State.

420.00 Proposed Site Improvements

421.00 The Secretary of State will construct or cause to be constructed site improvements to serve each Lot and will prepare each Lot for sale or lease to foreign governments. The proposed site improvements will be shown on a Site Improvements Plan prepared by or for the Secretary of State and approved by the Commission. The Site Improvements Plan will show, among other things, the location of streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, street trees, and such public utilities as water lines and sanitary and storm sewers and space provisions for such private utilities as electricity, gas and telephone lines.

430.00 Information to Be Furnished

431.00 The Secretary of State will make available to the purchaser or lessee of each Lot:

431.01 Applicable portions of the approved master plan for the Van Ness site;

431.02 The Site Improvements Plan;

431.03 Soil test boring logs in the Chancery Section; and

431.04 Construction plans of all site improvements in Chancery Section, including grading after demolition of existing buildings, grading for all roads, walks and retaining wall and proposed utilities.

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500.00 DEVELOPMENT CONTROLS

501.00 Lots 1 to 23, inclusive, in the Chancery Section shall not be developed or improved except in accordance with the following requirements:

510.00 Permitted Uses

511.00 No building or premises shall be used except for:

511.01 A Chancery;

511.02 An Embassy provided that it is combined with a Chancery;

511.03 Support facilities for a Chancery, only if permitted by the Secretary of State as constituting necessary and traditional facilities in support of diplomatic and consular missions. Such support facilities shall not be externally visible; and

511.04 Residential facilities for staff housing, provided that no more than five (5) such units are constructed within each Chancery and that any residential space shall be combined with and remain ancillary to the Chancery in function and subordinate in size, scale, and appearance.

520.00 Heights of Buildings

521.00 Maximum Heights

521.10 No building, including mechanical penthouses or other roof structures, shall exceed in height an elevation that is three hundred and ninety-two (392) feet above mean sea level, D.C. Datum, except that noninhabitable towers, domes and spire-like architectural elements representative of the architectural and cultural tradition of the foreign country may be permitted, provided that such design features:

a. are in harmony with the design of the rest of the building;

b. contribute to the visual quality of the International Center;

c. have no adverse visual impacts on facilities within surrounding areas of the International Center or on views from distant points in the city; and

d. present no security problems to facilities within the International Center.

521.20 No Building Height shall exceed forty-eight (48) feet except for the portion of Lot No. 12 bounded by a line forty (40) feet from the front Lot line (at International Place), twenty (20) feet from the south and southwest Lot lines, one hundred thirty (130) feet from the west Lot line, fifty (50) feet from the rear Lot line, and one hundred ten (110) feet from the east Lot line, wherein the building height shall not exceed sixty (60) feet.

521.30 Any part of a building facade exceeding forty-eight (48) feet in height (mechanical penthouses or other roof structures) shall be set back not less than twenty (20) feet from the building lines established in paragraph 550.00.

522.00 Minimum Height

522.10 No buildings, other than accessory buildings, shall be erected less than two (2) stories in height.

530.00 Floor Area Ratio

531.00 The Floor Area Ratio on any Lot shall not exceed 1.0, except Lots Nos. 14, 15, 22, and 23 on which the Floor Area Ratio shall not exceed 1.5, and Lot No. 12 on which the Floor Area Ratio shall not exceed 1.9.

540.00 Lot Occupancy

541.00 The Building Area on a Lot shall not exceed thirty percent (30%) of the area of the Lot except on Lot 12 the Building Area shall not exceed forty five percent (45%) of the area of the Lot.

550.00 Building Frontage and Setbacks

551.00 No building shall front on Van Ness Street, Reno Road or 36th Street. All buildings shall be set back not less than twenty (20) feet from the front and side Lot lines on all Lots except on Lot 12 the building shall be set back not less than fifty (50) feet from the side Lot line facing International Drive and not less than thirty (30) feet from the side Lot line adjacent to Lot 14, and not less than ten (10) feet from the rear Lot line on Lots Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 8, twenty (20) feet from the rear Lot lines on Lots on Lots Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, and 10, and thirty (30) feet from the rear Lot line on Lots Nos. 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23. No more than two Pergolas may be located in the required front or side setback areas, provided that no Pergola within a required setback area shall exceed twenty (20) feet in width and fifty-five (55) feet in length.

560.00 Off-Street Parking

561.00 Employee and Residential Parking

561.10 One Off-Street Parking Space for each employees assigned to the Chancery and not housed in the Chancery, and one Off-Street Parking Space for each residential unit shall be provided on-site either within a structure or underground. Where ten (10) or less parking spaces are required, they may be accommodated on the surface.

562.00 Visitor Parking

562.10 One Off-Street Parking Space for every ten employees shall be provided on-site for visitors. (Additional off-site parking exclusively for visitors is to be available on the public streets within the Chancery Center.)

563.00 Parking Access

563.10 Access and moveability aisles shall have not less than the following minimum widths:

Parallel or 45% angle parking - 14 feet

60% angle parking - 18 feet

90% angle parking - 23 feet

563.20 Off-Street Parking Spaces shall be accessible only from private access drives on the Lot; direct access from public streets shall not be provided.

564.00 Screening of Parking Areas

564.10 All surface parking areas shall be screened from the streets and the yard levels of adjacent lots by plantings and/or screen walls.

570.00 Access Drives

571.00 Number

571.10 Each Lot shall have at least one (1) but not more than two (2) access drives to the abutting public street on which the Lot fronts.

572.00 Design

572.10 Access drives shall not exceed 24 feet in width at the Lot line and shall meet the elevations of curbs, gutters and roadways.

580.00 Off-Street Loading

581.00 At least one Off-street Loading Space shall be provided for each Lot.

590.00 Open Spaces

591.00 Required Usable Open Space

591.10 The sum of the Building Area and the off-street parking and loading area on any Lot shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the area of the Lot except Lot No. 12 on which the sum of the Building Area and the off-street parking and loading area shall not exceed sixty five percent (65%) of the area of the Lot.

592.00 Treatment and Maintenance of Open Spaces

592.10 All open spaces shall be well maintained in a dust-free condition and adequately drained. All unpaved areas shall be landscaped or planted with a ground cover and maintained in good condition.

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600.00 LANDSCAPING

601.00 In the development of individual Lots, existing trees and existing topography shall be maintained and preserved to the maximum extent possible. Buildings and landscape structures shall be designed to enhance, respect, and preserve adjacent buffer areas and take advantage of, and adjust to, the natural contours of the land.

602.00 All Lots shall be landscaped. A landscaping plan for each Lot shall be submitted as part of the site and building plans for review and approval by the Commission.

610.00 Fences and Retaining Walls

611.00 Fences and retaining walls may be constructed on Lot lines and within setback areas and building lines, provided that:

611.11 The top of such fences may be no higher than six and one-half feet (6'-6") above the final grade and the average height of any such retaining wall may be no higher than seven and one half feet (7'-6") above the final grade, except on Lot No. 12, the top of such fences may be no higher than nine feet ten inches (9’-10”) or three (3) meters above the final grade, as measured from the exterior of the Lot.

611.12 No fences or retaining walls or other construction shall be located within five feet of Van Ness Street or within any building restriction line indicated on the plat subdivision; and

613.13 All surfaces of fences or retaining walls shall be finished and designed in such a manner as to harmonize with the design and materials used in the construction of the Chancery and shall present no objectionable characteristics to adjacent Lots.

620.00 Design and Treatment of Roofs

621.00 All roofs, roof fixtures, and roof structures shall be designed, constructed, and maintained so as to enhance the appearance of the Chancery Section when viewed from other parts of the Van Ness Site and adjacent areas. The design and screening of such elements shall be clearly shown as part of the site and building plans for each Chancery. Mechanical equipment located on the roof shall be screened in a manner to harmonize with the architectural character, materials and colors of the building.

630.00 Signs

631.00 Signs shall be permitted as follows:

631.10 Each Chancery may have one sign not exceeding six (6) square feet in area for identification purposes placed upon the front of the building near the main entrance.

631.20 Each Chancery may have one identification sign at the entrance to any access drive not exceeding six (6) square feet in area and not exceeding four (4) feet in height above the ground.

631.30 Each Chancery may have directional signs at the entrance and/or exit of any access drive for the purpose of directing vehicular traffic, provided such signs do not exceed one (1) square foot and do not extend more than two (2) feet above the ground.

631.40 No signs or advertising device within or upon any building and visible from the exterior of such building shall be erected unless the design and location of such signs shall have been approved as part of the site and building plans for the Chancery. Any such sign or advertising device shall be of a design compatible with the character of the use to be established on the Lot. Roof signs shall not be erected. No sign shall contain or be subject to any flashing illumination, nor have any moving parts.

640.00 Storage and Disposal of Solid Wastes

641.00 All solid wastes shall be stored in fully enclosed storage areas within, or immediately adjacent to, the Chancery. No evidence of any such storage areas shall be visible from any adjacent properties. All organic wastes shall be disposed of a garbage disposal unit or units installed in each Chancery.

642.00 Incinerators shall not be visible from adjacent areas and their emissions shall meet current United States Government air quality control standards.

650.00 Public and Private Utilities

651.00 All public and private utilities within the Chancery Section and on each Lot shall be underground. No above-ground utilities of any kind shall be provided within the Chancery Section other than street lights and fire plugs. A main line backflow preventer shall be provided at the Lot line on the water service to each Chancery.

660.00 Outdoor Lighting

661.00 If any Lot is lighted for nighttime use for safety or display purposes, the lights shall not cast their director rays upon nearby yards, buildings or streets.

670.00 Antennae and Microwave Equipment

671.00 All proposed antennae shall be shown on the site and building plans for each Chancery submitted for approval by the Commission.

672.00 The proposed location, character and height of all such antennae shall not adversely affect the use of adjacent Chanceries or other property in the general vicinity of the Chancery Section.

673.00 The height of any antennae tower in excess of that permitted by the Act of June 1, 1910 (36 Stat. 452), as amended, shall be approved by the Commissioner [Mayor] of the District of Columbia.

674.00 No microwave disc shall be placed on a Chancery or Chancery site without written consent of the Department of State and the location, size and appearance shall be shown on the site and building plans for each Chancery for approval by the Commission. The proposed location shall not adversely affect the communications or other use of adjacent Chanceries or other property in the general vicinity of the International Center.

680.00 Surface Drainage

681.00 Concentrated stormwater runoff from individual Lots must be discharged into a well-defined natural or manmade off-site receiving channel or pipe.

682.00 All plans submitted with stormwater detention systems should provide for an adequate procedure for maintenance to assure proper functioning of the facility.

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700.00 SITE AND BUILDING PLANS

710.00 Preparation of Preliminary and Final Plans

711.00 Each foreign government leasing or purchasing a Lot shall prepare or cause to be prepared preliminary and final site and building plans for the development of the Lot. Such plans shall indicate the proposed location, height, bulk, number of stories and size of, and the provisions for open space and off street parking and loading in and around all buildings to be constructed on the Lot and shall include the landscaping plan prepared pursuant to Paragraph 602.00. Such plans shall conform in every respect to the Development Controls set forth herein. The final building plans shall also indicate the appearance, color, and texture of the materials of exterior construction of all buildings proposed to be constructed on the Lot.

720.00 Review and Approval by Commission

721.00 The preliminary and final site and building plans shall be submitted for the review and approval of the Commission, in accordance with the International Center Act (Public Law 90-553, as amended by Public Law 97-186).

730.00 Review and Approval by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts

731.00 The final building plans shall be submitted for the review and approval of the Commission of Fine Arts as to the height and appearance, color, and texture of the materials of exterior construction of all buildings proposed to be constructed on the Lot, in accordance with the International Center Act (Public Law 90-553, as amended by Public Law 97-186).

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800.00 ADDITIONS TO, OR REPLACEMENT OF, BUILDINGS AND IMPROVEMENTS

801.00 Any proposed modification, addition, or change to any building or other improvements made or constructed in accordance with the site and buildings plans approved by the Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts shall conform to the Development Controls set forth herein and modified site and buildings plans indicating such proposed modification, addition, or change shall be prepared and submitted for approval in accordance with Section 700.00.