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Old Georgetown Review

The historic preservation review process in Georgetown is complicated by overlapping local and federal laws. The DC historic preservation law applies to the Georgetown Historic District, but federal law also gives the US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) similar authority to review most exterior construction in the neighborhood. The District must consider CFA recommendations on work in Georgetown, and may also obtain advice from the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).

Who reviews projects in Georgetown?

In practice, the Old Georgetown Board (OGB), a CFA advisory board, conducts the primary review of most projects in Georgetown. The OGB reviews lead to the recommendations that CFA returns to the District of Columbia.

HPRB does not usually review Georgetown projects considered by CFA. However, because CFA only reviews projects that are visible from a street or alley, HPRB and the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) review all exterior work not visible from public space. On rare occasions, both CFA and HPRB review an important or complex project.

What design standards are applied?

The preservation and design standards used by CFA and OGB are similar but not identical to those of HPRB and HPO. Sign regulations and some other rules are more restrictive in Georgetown.

Is the public involved?

The Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2E) and Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) participate actively in the review of proposed work in Georgetown.

How to Apply

You apply for review at the Permit Center of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 1100 4th Street SW, Second Floor, at the HPO desk (Desk 10). CFA and HPO coordinate on the intake and transmittal of applications for Georgetown review, as well as the processing of applications after CFA review.