House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wants to move forward with minor modifications to the century-old law governing the height of buildings in D.C.
Issa told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he wants to bring a bill granting human occupancy of penthouses to the House floor in late April, when Congress returns from its two-week spring break.
The congressman hopes to pass the measure, which would clear the way for rooftop pools, parties, gardens and balconies that can rise up to 20 feet above current height limits, under suspension of the rules — a tactic often used for noncontroversial legislation. It would then head to the Senate. Issa launched the debate in late 2012, when he suggested local and federal planners put their heads together to explore possibilities for modifying the 1910 Height of Buildings Act. Local elected officials on the D.C. Council and preservation advocates opposed lifting the limits, saying it would destroy the city's unique horizontal character.