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D.C.’s hopes for some degree of authority over its own building heights were all but dashed last week when the National Capital Planning Commission voted not to recommend that Congress make any major changes to the Height Act. Supporters of the 1910 law cheered the decision as an affirmation that D.C.’s skyline should retain a “human scale.” Just how human? Well, take a look at how D.C.’s tallest existing building—excluding monuments—and its tallest allowable building on a major commercial corridor stack up against the high-rises of some veritable American metropolises.
Tallest currently allowed on D.C. commercial streets: 130 feet (plus penthouses and spires)
Oakbrook Terrace Tower: 418 feet
Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. Population: 2,155
Sapphire I: 403 feet
South Padre Island, Texas. Population: 2,896
Prysmian Copper Wire Tower: 373 feet
Abbeville, S.C. Population: 5,179
Beau Rivage Casino Hotel: 346 feet
Biloxi, Miss. Population: 44,578
333 Market Street: 341 feet
Harrisburg, Pa. Population: 49,279
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception: 329 feet
D.C. Population: 632,323
Gold Strike Casino Hotel: 317 feet
Tunica, Miss. Population: 996