The Height Act! We mostly think it is bunk and ought to be scrapped. But that’s not happening anytime soon. What could be happening are incremental steps to maybe, kind of, a little bit, possibly adjust one of the more onerous D.C.-related things the federal government has exclusive control over.

Today, during a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, quite a few heavy-hitters came out to testify on whether the 130-foot height maximum for buildings should be relaxed, including Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi, National Capital Planning Commission Executive Director Marcel Acosta, University of Maryland School of Architecture Professor Emeritus Roger Lewis, D.C. Building Industry Association Counsel Christopher Collins, and Committee of 100 Board of Trustees member Laura Richards.

Some takeaways from the hearing:

  • Lewis suggested increasing the maximum height allowed under the act around the Southwest and Anacostia waterfronts—-even though parts of these areas aren’t even zoned up to the current maximum, and where, particularly in the case of the Anacostia waterfront, financing for a building that tall would probably be hard to come by.
  • No actual building owners were present.
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton thinks downtown architecture is ugly.
  • Shocker: The Committee of 100 wants no changes whatsoever.

Below the jump, a collection of tweets on the subject: