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“Good order, good taste, and with due regard to public interests involved”: the origins of the Ships

Thursday, August 3, 2017  
Posted by: ADMIN
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Article written by DCALS member Matthew Gilmore

“Good order, good taste, and with due regard to public interests involved”: the origins of the Shipstead-Luce Act

  

On May 16, 1930 Congress approved Public Law 231, “An Act to regulate the height, exterior design, and construction of private and semipublic buildings in certain areas of the National Capital” — now commonly referred to as the Shipstead-Luce Act.

Virtually unknown outside planning and real estate development circles, the Act is a foundational element of the matrix of planning laws and regulations which have shaped the unique urban design of the Washington we have today.

The law gave design review to the Commission of Fine Arts over private buildings adjacent to federal buildings, the first law imposing design review over private buildings in Washington. Unlike zoning and building regulations, it is the first legislation that allows the government to review and approve the actual design and materials of private construction (extending to color), rather than simply height, mass, and use. As such it is also the precursor to Washington’s historic preservation laws, particularly the Old Georgetown Act.

COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE

Reprinted with permission. © 2016 InTowner Publishing Corp

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