Blocked in an attempt early yesterday to establish a temporary moratorium on all condominium conversions, D.C. City Council member Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large) has introduced legislation designed to slow the shift of rental housing to condos.
Under the new measure, which faces strong opposition from the city's real estate industry, tenants of buildings slated for conversion would be given the right to continue renting their apartments for three years. Meanwhile, landlords would have the option of finding comparable quarters where the tenants could be relocated.
Mason had planned to ask for emergency council action Tuesday night on a bill to halt all conversions for three months while permanent legislation could be considered.
At 1:30 a.m. yesterday, with the council chamber still crowded with 75 citizens on both sides of the issue, Mason announced that she lacked the eight votes needed in the 12-member council to declare an emergency so her bill could be considered.
Instead, she dropped the attempt, telling a reporter later that one previous supporter of her bill had defected.
On another matter dealing with city development, the council took advice from John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2) and tabled a bill he had introduced that would have permitted a new building on the west side of 15th Street NW between F and G Streets NW to rise to a height of 130 feet. The present limit is 95 feet.
The block, chiefly occupied by Garfinckel's department store, is slated for development by the Oliver T. Carr Co.
Under the proposal, the 80-foot-high facades of Keith's Theater and the Metropolitan Bank buildings on 15th Street would remain The new taller buildings would have been set back 35 feet from the historic facades.
Wilson criticized preservation-minded citizens who, he said, have persuaded members of Congress to introduce bills designed to block the 130-foot height if the council had approved it. Those citizens, he said, "want to turn the whole damn place (the city) into a monument."
The council approved a $76.6 million supplemental budget for the current 1979 fiscal year and a $53 million supplement for fiscal 1980. The budget changes, proposed by Mayor Marion Barry, must be approved by the White House and Congress.
On another District construction matter, the mayor signed council-passed legislation setting up machinery for new initiative referendum and recall procedures, but barring a referendum on the proposed downtown convention center. The measure is subject to a review by Congress before becoming law.