The State Department has instructed the Republic of Congo to restore the front yard of its new chancery to planted green space. In a recent letter, the State Department says it “expects the Embassy to comply” with a D.C. Department of Transportation request to return the yard to landscaping.

The embassy paved over the entire front yard of the historic Toutorsky Mansion, at 16th and Riggs NW, in September. Residents charged that this violated promises the embassy had made when securing approval to move into the building.

The embassy originally wanted to build a circular driveway and park the ambassador’s car there during the day. Residents and DDOT opposed that proposal because it would remove landscaping, likely destroy several trees, require moving a bus stop, violate standards for placing driveway curb cuts, and occupy public space with cars.

The land beginning just in front of the porch all the way to the street is actually public space, not part of the lot. D.C. laws prohibit parking cars in public space, even when there is a driveway. However, many embassies nevertheless park cars there, and there’s little or nothing DC can do about it.

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.