Out of Scale in DC, But Is That So Bad?

Planners, architects, and neighbors these days seem more and more sensitive when it comes to the scale of a block. We’ve attended countless neighborhood zoning meetings where developers have sought a few feet of extra height than is permitted by right, and neighbors stand in opposition as a result. While the new zoning code adopted last August increased the allowable height in many zoning districts by a few feet, it also created protections to maintain blocks that contain primarily two-story homes, insisting on an eight-foot setback of the third floor for new construction three-story homes. The sensibility of this requirement can be debated, but it’s in there.

2000 block of Pemberton
In Francisville, this caused a stink

It’s clear that no such rule exists in Washington DC. A thread on Philadelphia Speaks led us to an interesting story on Dcist that we felt we had to share. We present to you a new condo project at 1013 V St. NW, which sticks out like a sore, uh, middle finger.

In the past. Image from Dcist
Current view, image also from Dcist. Because we're not driving down to DC today. Sorry.

According to Dcist, the property was purchased back in 2011 for $386K (!), and the developers who own it are in the process of constructing a five-story building with three condo units. It’s true, the building looks completely out of scale with the other homes on the block, but it should be noted that a six-story condo building has recently gone up a few doors down and can be seen on the left hand side of the image above.

What do people think? Is this building a monstrosity, or is it no big deal? In twenty years, will it continue to stick out from the rest of the block, or will a couple of other developers take advantage of the fact that the height limit on the block is a generous 65′ and follow the example set out for them? Is anyone else at least a little impressed that they appear to have maintained the original facade in this project, rather than tearing it down and starting with something new? What do people think?