Heeding a plea by opponents of a proposed half-way house for 90 former prison inmates near a Catholic high school in Northwest Washington, the D.C. Zoning Commission last night voted an immediate, temporary ban on the establishment of large group homes anywhere in the city.
Ben W. Gilbert, director of municipal planning, said it was impossible to determine last night whether the action would prevent the occupancy of the building at 4301 Harewood Rd. NE that is being protested by neighbors.
It is across the street from Archbishop Carroll High School.
Under the zoning body's action, no group home for more than 30 persons may be established during the next four months.
Group homes for up to eight residents may be established without restriction in medium-density residential areas, zoned R-4 and R-5. Group homes for between nine and 30 residents may be established in these same areas with approval of the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment, a body separate from the Zoning Commission.
The Zoning Commission acted after hearing a plea from Norman C. Neverson, a member of the area's advisory neighbourhood commission and an announced candidate at a special election next May 1 for the Ward 4 seat on the City Council. The incumbent, Arrington Dixon, will become council chairman on Jan. 2.
Neverson testified that the Bureau of Rehabilitation, a United Way-sponsored agency, had received an official certificate of occupancy, from the city permitting the ex-prisoners to move in.
In another action yesterday, the Zoning Commission formally dropped its consideration of a so-called sectional development plan for the Friendship Heights neighbourhood that first had been proposed in 1974. The residential and commercial area flanks Wisconsin Avenue just inside the District of Columbia-Montgomery Country border.
The plan was first proposed before the city had legal authority to do its own land planning, which is now permitted under home rule. At a hearing last January, many residents protested its proposals for more intensive development of the area.