Capitol Hill Restoration Society

Inaugural Dick Wolf Memorial Lecture – DC’s Historic Preservation Law

Posted on April 11th, 2015

Do we need more objective criteria for evaluating demolition permits for historic properties?  That question was addressed in a variety of ways by William B. King at the inaugural Dick Wolf Memorial Lecture on  March 27, 2015 at HillCenter. Event Photos

King, a student at Georgetown Law School and winner of the first Dick Wolf Memorial Lecture prize, suggested a modification of DC’s Historic Preservation Law that would provide objectively defined criteria for the Mayor’s Agent’s to apply when deciding whether to approve demolition permits. After the talk, the current Mayor’s Agent, Peter Byrne, and former Chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board (and Mr. King’s law professor) Tersh Boasberg, along with Attorney Cornish Hitchcock, joined Mr. King to discuss the implications of his proposal. A brief membership meeting preceded the lecture.

King posits that the current law is too vague, placing both developers and preservation advocates in a position where they are unable to know what type of issues the Mayor’s Agent will consider. He argues that the law should be more specific, taking away some of the Mayor’s Agent’s discretion in allowing demolition to occur.

Recording of the lecture:

Recording of the panel discussion:


Mr. King  is a candidate for a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center this May. His prize-winning talk is based on a paper that will appear in this spring’s Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy. At Georgetown Law he is on the Dean’s List and has won numerous awards, including the CALI Award for best Historic Preservation Seminar Paper. Mr. King is a legal intern for the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform for the U.S. House of Representatives, and after graduation plans to be a law clerk for Judge Richard D. Bennett of the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, MD.

 An avid track and cross country runner, in 2009 Mr. King founded Towson Tennis,a summer tennis program for young children in Northern Baltimore neighborhoods.

Bill King delivering his lecture

King delivering his lecture