Chevy Chase Historic District in the Works

DC’s Chevy Chase neighborhood is one step closer to creating a neighborhood historic district. Late last month the Chevy Chase DC Conservancy submitted a plan to do just that with the Historic Preservation Review Board. 

If the board agrees with their proposal, it means designating the commercial strip of Chevy Chase along Connecticut Avenue, as well as some of the surrounding residential blocks as historic. That area is the oldest part of the neighborhood, which dates back to the turn-of-the-century. 

The proposed historic district would be bounded by Western Avenue, Chevy Chase Parkway NW, and Military Road. A designation such as this would mean that homes and buildings within the district’s boundaries would need approval in the future for any exterior changes or other renovations. 

This could include everything from replacing a roof or windows to adding an addition onto a property. There usually is some distinction in that not all properties are necessarily treated the same.

Some buildings are usually designated as contributing structures, which means the regulations aren’t quite as stringent. The Conservancy touts that having such a designation would particularly help protect small historic homes from being torn down and replaced by much larger homes that drive up the cost of living in Chevy Chase, and therefore make it less affordable for some who want to live there.

The Historic Preservation Review Board still needs to schedule a hearing, where members will likely either vote for or against the change. There are nine committee members on that board who are appointed by the mayor. The public does have the opportunity to comment as part of the process.

Already, there are 70 designated historic districts in DC, more than half of which are neighborhood historic districts. The rest range from parks and parkways to cemeteries, campuses, and military sites.

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