Georgetown, the oldest historic district in the District of Columbia, is a world-renowned neighborhood - a living, bricks-and-mortar reflection of the early years of the American Republic - and one of the most unique residential neighborhoods in the United States.
Congress passed the Old Georgetown Act in 1950 (Public Law 81-808), which set forth and designated the Georgetown Historic District. The Act defined the boundaries of historic Georgetown as we know it today and gave the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) the authority to appoint a committee, the Old Georgetown Board (OBG), to conduct design reviews of semi-public and private structures within Georgetown's boundaries. Generations of Georgetowners have been protected by legislation, regulation, and private action to maintain the celebrated character of our historic neighborhood. This law and the substantial volunteer activity by citizens over the years provides a concrete reminder that living in Georgetown is both a privilege and a responsibility. Only by working together can the ambience of Georgetown, enjoyed today by residents, business owners, and visitors, be preserved.
Anyone considering construction or remodeling in Georgetown should be aware of their responsibilities. This brochure gives an overview of the permit review process and lists sources for more complete information. It briefly describes when you need a permit, how you apply for a permit, who reviews your application, and details the main steps in the process. It also provides some practical guidance designed to help you avoid common mistakes, and thereby expedite your review process.