Image from Wikimedia.

The Republic of the Congo has withdrawn its request to build a circular driveway or a shorter one-way driveway in front of the property at 16th and Riggs where it hopes to move its embassy from Crestwood.

At a hearing Tuesday before the Foreign Missions Board of Zoning Adjustment, the ambassador from the Republic of the Congo and his DC attorneys said they would modify their request to only include one curb cut, off Riggs Place, and a short “one-way” driveway (a driveway with only one entrance) instead of a full circular driveway.

They also offered to remove the existing curb cut to the garage toward the rear of the property, and promised that while the ambassador would use the driveway to arrive and depart, his car would not stay parked during the day.


Republic of the Congo request as of Tuesday morning, now withdrawn.


However, DC agencies and neighbors continued to oppose the driveway plan. It violates DDOT’s and historic preservation policies against approving new curb cuts, and several pointed out that there would be no way to enforce the rules against parking there once the property became a chancery.

The representative from the State Department, in announcing support for locating the chancery in this building, also said that there was no specific security issue that would require new curb cuts for either a circular or one-way driveway.

Yesterday, the Republic of the Congo withdrew its driveway request entirely. Presumably they will use the existing curb cut and garage for pick-up and drop-off for the ambassador.

They are eager to get approval because they are purchasing the property on short sale, and approval expires in early March. They announced the one-way driveway proposal the morning of the FMBZA hearing, and that board continued the hearing to March 8 to get ANC, historic preservation, DDOT and other comments on the modification.

Without this driveway, there is little standing in the way of gaining approval.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.