Lydia DePillis writes that ANC Commissioner Kent Boese is pushing to have the Georgia Avenue / Petworth Metro Station name changed to incorporate the term “Park View” because “while they’ve seen significant development north of the station — on the Petworth side, which is also Ward 4 — streets to the south haven’t improved as quickly, and literally putting Park View on the map might help potential retailers, developers, and restauranteurs look to that area as well.”
I wish people would get in the habit of consulting the zoning map before speculating as to the origins of development patterns, and that’s especially the case since the DC Office of Zoning has made a very user friendly one. A quick check suggests to me that commercial development is probably sparser in the Park View part of Georgia Avenue than in the Petworth part of Georgia Avenue because the Petworth part has business-friendly zoning:
In Petworth you’ve got C-3-A zoning, whereas in Park View it’s C-2-A. Both also get a Georgia Avenue Overlay District granting an extra five feet of building heights for mixed-use developments. But the gap in zoning means that Petworth buildings can be fifteen feet taller, get a 1.5 percent Floor Area Ratio boost, and are allowed to occupy a larger share of the lot. Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising that investment capital has tended to flow to the Petworth side. If Park View community leaders want to upzone to equalize with Petworth — or even to get denser than Petworth — that’d make a bigger difference than fiddling with Metro names.
To be preachy for a minute, I really urge everyone — including those who don’t share my normative views about policy — to familiarize themselves with the zoning rules in the neighborhoods where they live. Just about everyone is interested in the question of their own neighborhood and what’s around them. But almost nobody is interested in zoning. And yet, these things are intimately linked!