Washington, D.C., Code of Ordinances

Updated September 2019

By: City of Washington, DC


Table of Contents

Affordable Housing Programs

The district’s codified ordinances contain several policies on affordable housing. Chapter 21A includes the city’s policies on truth in affordability reporting, tracking affordable housing inventory, and the office-to-affordable-housing task force. Chapter 26 describes the home purchase assistance fund and Chapter 26A outlines the Homeownership Counseling Program. Chapter 28 discusses the Housing Production Trust Fund, including the governance structure and bond authorization, and Chapter 28A describes the city’s approach to low-income housing preservation and protection.

food trucks

The city’s local business affairs code includes the Vending Regulation Act of 2009, which covers definitions (§37-131.01), necessary licensing (§37-131.02), vending locations (§-37-131.03 et seq), authorizes vending development zones (§37-131.05), outlines penalties for non-compliance (§37-131.08), and establishes a citywide vending task force (§37-131.09).

Historic Preservation

The city’s codified ordinances include a section on historic landmarks and district protection (§6–1101-1157). It establishes a Historic Preservation Review Board and outlines a process for reviewing demolition and alteration applications for historic properties or properties in historic districts. It also establishes financial incentives through a Historic Landmark-District Protection Fund and Targeted Homeowner Grant Program to support local historic preservation projects.

Urban Agriculture

The district's code addresses urban agriculture. It establishes a food production and urban gardens program that authorizes the use of vacant lots for community gardens (Chapter 48-4). The code provides definitions and lists a number of policies to encourage the donation and cultivation of public and private vacant lots for use as urban farms or community gardens (§48-402). It charges the mayor with identifying at least 25 district-owned lots to start a land-leasing initiative with three-year lease terms; standards establish program application guidelines (§48-402.01) and limit program expenditures (§48-402.02). The code also directs the Office of Planning to conduct a local food economy study (§48-411).

Washington, DC

2010 Population: 601,723

2010 Population Density: 9,856.56/square mile