Tari, a consignment boutique on at 1525 Wisconsin Ave., has until August 31 to resolve zoning and Commission on Fine Arts problems with a new two story rear addition that has already been built. Otherwise, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) will revoke the permit, which the agency has since determined was issued in error.
Tuesday the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) met to discuss an appeal by neighbors to that erroneously-granted permit, but decided to delay a hearing until September 25 in consideration of the DCRA August 31 deadline.
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Sara Mokhtari, the owner of Tari, first received permit approval in early 2011 to install a foundation for what was described as a new three story structure. DCRA issued a stop work order in April 2011 for work outside the scope of the permit. Mokhtari signed an agreement to pay a fine and then applied for appropriate permits.
In August 2011, she received permit approval for a new two story rear building.
In October 2011 the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) appealed that permit through the BZA.
CAG's appeal of the August 2011 permit focuses on lot occupancy violations on both the first and second floors of the new structure, in part because of proposed residential use.
Helder Gil, a spokesperson for DCRA, explained that the error by his agency stemmed from "internal inconsistencies in the building permit application" about what would be retail and what would be residential.
On May 2 DCRA revoked the building permit that was issued for the addition, but the agency made the revocation effective as of August 31.
"Work is going on and the interim time is designed for the property owner to get plans together that can be approved by the various reviewing entities to bring her into compliance," Jay Surabian, assistant attorney general, explained to the BZA Tuesday.
Surabian had asked for the appeal to be denied because it was "moot" now that DCRA had revoked the permit.
Moktari agreed, saying that to her mind the permit was no longer at issue and that her main hurdle was the Old Georgetown Board
"I’m not sure why we’re even here," she told the BZA.
Outerbridge Horsey represented CAG and the neighbors at the hearing and pushed for the BZA not to dismiss the appeal. He said they would simply file a new appeal to ensure that the zoning requirements were met.
"There is no plan on record, approved that doesn't have a zoning violation," he said.
"Nothing has been resolved, nothing has been corrected. There has been no effort to comply. Period," Horsey added emphatically.
BZA Chair Lloyd Jordan ultimately disagreed with DCRA and sided with CAG for the time being.
"We still have a live and active building permit. It is not moot because we still have activity going forward."
The BZA will consider the appeal again in September.