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How the Mayor's Agent Hearing Process Works

An applicant for a permit or subdivision may request a public hearing by the Mayor's Agent if the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) or Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) has recommended that the proposed work is not compatible with the character of the historic property. The Mayor's Agent does not hold public hearings on conceptual review applications.

Step 1: Request the hearing

When HPRB or CFA recommends against the issuance of a permit or subdivision, the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) notifies the applicant of the opportunity to request a public hearing. The applicant then has ten days to request the hearing, stating one or more of the following as the claim to be made for approval of the application:

  • The project is consistent with the purposes of the preservation law;
  • The approval is necessary to construct a project of special merit; or
  • Failure to approve the project will result in unreasonable economic hardship.

HPO sets a hearing date after receiving this request. At least thirty days before the hearing, HPO gives public notice to the applicant, the owners of abutting property, the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission, and persons on the HPO mailing list.

Step 2: Submit pre-hearing materials

At least twenty days before the hearing, the applicant must file a statement of the reasons for requesting approval, with a copy of the project plans, context photographs, any supporting information, and a list of participating witnesses. Specific financial information is also required if the claim is unreasonable economic hardship.

At least fifteen days before the hearing, any affected person or group wishing to participate as a party to the hearing must submit contact information, state how it is affected by the proposal, and state the grounds for its support or opposition

For more information, consult the regulations here.

Step 3: Participate in the hearing

The hearing follows contested case legal procedure, with sworn testimony and cross-examination of witnesses by parties to the case. Representation by an attorney is advisable in large or complex cases.

For more information, consult the regulations here.

Step 4: Submit final documents 

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer may ask the parties to submit additional materials, such as proposed findings, for a final order. Submission of these documents closes the record of the hearing.

Step 5: The final order

After the hearing, the Mayor's Agent issues a written decision based upon the record. There is no provision for administrative appeal, but parties may pursue appeals through the District of Columbia courts.