Preservation board rejects townhouse renovation proposal

The Historic Preservation Review Board did not accept a proposal submitted for a seven-story addition to a historic townhouse near 20th and H streets, city officials said last week.

The design – submitted by the Health Services for Children Foundation – would have added office space for the nonprofit organization, but it has faced community resistance.

“The HPRB provided the foundation with some feedback as to the initial proposal and stated that the applicant should return to the board for additional conceptual or preliminary review when appropriate,” said Anita Hairston, chief of staff of the D.C. Office of Planning.

At a community meeting last month the board pointed out possible problems, including a concern over “certain elements of the design that need to be addressed in order for the new construction to achieve its goal of being a modern and compatible neighbor, while at the same time preserving the historic structures and their relationship,” according to a HPRB staff report.

The design for the building was intended to incorporate the townhouse within the surrounding buildings through the use of brick accents. The plans also included an addition that will be set back from the front of the building.

The three-story building was built in 1888 and is one of the oldest surviving townhouses in the area.

The next evaluation is expected to take place at the HPRB hearing in either November or December.

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