Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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Neighbors looked on in horror this year as a big middle finger slowly unfurled on V Street NW. This particular pop-up—a three-story addition to a rowhouse—had the misfortune of being situated between two two-story knuckles on either side, but all across the city, residents are reacting with outrage to the growing popularity of pop-ups. So much so that Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham asked the Zoning Commission in November to put an end to these “monstrosities” once and for all. The trouble is that there’s no easy way to ban pop-ups, since they’re well within the rights of building owners, provided they don’t violate the zoning code. They’re useful, too, as a way to increase density in high-demand neighborhoods without razing historic rowhouses. Oh, and they’re profitable: The V Street rowhouse, purchased two years ago for under $400,000, is now The Ella, whose three condos are on the market for a total asking price of more than $2 million.