B-3350, MAY 4, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 824

B-3350: May 4, 1939

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WHICH FORM MERELY THE FRAMEWORK UPON WHICH IS SUPERIMPOSED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES A GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS USE. ARE NOT. PROHIBITING PURCHASES OF BOOKS OF REFERENCE FROM APPROPRIATED MONEYS UNLESS SUCH PURCHASES ARE AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT THEREFOR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE LAW GRANTING THE APPROPRIATION. 1939: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 21. AS FOLLOWS: THE COMMISSIONERS DESIRE TO SUBMIT FOR YOUR EARLY CONSIDERATION AND ADVISE THE FOLLOWING: CERTAIN ADDITIONAL POWERS AND DUTIES HAVE BEEN IMPOSED UPON THE ZONING COMMISSION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BY THE ACT OF JUNE 20. (THE ZONING COMMISSION WAS CREATED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 1. WHILE THE NECESSARY MAPS AND RECORDS ARE REQUIRED TO BE KEPT BY THE COMMISSION.

B-3350, MAY 4, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 824

ZONING PLAT BOOKS - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - PURCHASE WITHOUT SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION AUTHORITY LOT, SQUARE, HIGHWAY, AND PARK PLATS, EVEN THOUGH IN THE FORM OF BOUND ATLASES, WHICH FORM MERELY THE FRAMEWORK UPON WHICH IS SUPERIMPOSED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES A GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS USE, HEIGHT, AND AREA, DISTRICTS WHICH CONSTITUTE THE ZONE PLAN OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ARE NOT, IN VIEW OF THEIR CHARACTER AND USE TO WHICH TO BE PUT, BOOKS OF REFERENCE WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3, ACT OF MARCH 15, 1898, 30 STAT. 316, PROHIBITING PURCHASES OF BOOKS OF REFERENCE FROM APPROPRIATED MONEYS UNLESS SUCH PURCHASES ARE AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT THEREFOR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE LAW GRANTING THE APPROPRIATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL BROWN TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MAY 4, 1939:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 21, 1939, AS FOLLOWS:

THE COMMISSIONERS DESIRE TO SUBMIT FOR YOUR EARLY CONSIDERATION AND ADVISE THE FOLLOWING:

CERTAIN ADDITIONAL POWERS AND DUTIES HAVE BEEN IMPOSED UPON THE ZONING COMMISSION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BY THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1938, PUBLIC, NO. 684, 75TH CONGRESS. (THE ZONING COMMISSION WAS CREATED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1930, 41 STAT. 500). THIS ACT AMONG OTHER THINGS AUTHORIZES AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION TO COVER THE SALARIES AND EXPENSES INCIDENT TO ITS PURPOSES, AND WHILE THE NECESSARY MAPS AND RECORDS ARE REQUIRED TO BE KEPT BY THE COMMISSION, LAW BOOKS, BOOKS OF REFERENCE, AND PAMPHLETS ARE NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR THEREIN.

TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT, SUPRA, FUNDS WERE PROVIDED IN THE SECOND DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT APPROVED JUNE 25, 1938, IN THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

"FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ZONING OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND THE REGULATION OF THE LOCATION, HEIGHT, BULK, AND USES OF BUILDINGS AND OTHER STRUCTURES, AND OF THE USES OF LAND IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES" APPROVED JUNE 20, 1938, FISCAL YEAR 1939, $5,690.'

YOU WILL NOTE FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1938, THAT IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT THERE BE PLACED AT THE DISPOSAL OF THE COMMISSION A DESCRIPTIONAL RECORD OF ALL REAL ESTATE, BOTH IMPROVED AND UNIMPROVED, IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUPERIMPOSING THEREUPON, EITHER BY COLOR OR SYMBOL, AREAS AFFECTED OR TO BE AFFECTED BY REGULATIONS ISSUED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT. FROM THE VERY NATURE OF THE SERVICES TO BE RENDERED BY THE COMMISSION IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THERE BE AVAILABLE INFORMATION SUCH AS IS PREPARED BY THE G. WM. BAIST'S SONS IN THEIR REAL ESTATE ATLASES OF SURVEYS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, OUTLINING IN DETAIL THE LOT AND SQUARE AREAS, STREETS, AVENUES, AND ALLEYS IN THE CITY.

THE BAIST'S ATLASES, AS THEY ARE COMMONLY CALLED, CONSTITUTE IN THEIR ORIGINAL FORM MERELY THE FRAMEWORK UPON WHICH IS SUPERIMPOSED A GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS USE, HEIGHT, AND AREA DISTRICTS WHICH CONSTITUTE THE ZONE PLAN OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND WHICH IS DESIGNED TO LESSEN DANGERS IN STREETS, TO SECURE SAFETY, AND OTHER ADVANTAGES THAT ACCRUE FROM PROPER ZONING. YOU CAN READILY SEE FROM THE ZONING REGULATIONS, COPY ENCLOSED, THAT THESE ATLASES, WHEN COMPLETED BY THE COMMISSION, ARE SPECIFICALLY MADE A PART OF ITS REGULATIONS (PAGE 1).

IT CANNOT BE SAID THAT THE BAIST'S ATLASES ARE BOOKS OF REFERENCE WHEN CONSIDERED IN THE LIGHT OF THE USE TO WHICH THEY ARE TO BE PUT. IN THEIR ORIGINAL FORM THEY ARE OF NO VALUE TO THE ZONING COMMISSION. THEIR VALUE CONSISTS SOLELY IN THAT THEY ARE THE MEDIUM UPON WHICH THE VARIOUS ACTIONS OF THE COMMISSION IN ZONING PROPERTIES ARE RECORDED. IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THESE ATLASES ARE NO MORE BOOKS OF REFERENCE THAN THE LEDGERS OF THE ASSESSOR IN WHICH HE RECORDS THE ASSESSED VALUE OF PROPERTY AND THE TAXES DUE THEREON.

IN YOUR DECISION TO THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION (16 COMP. GEN. 1081) IT WAS POINTED OUT THAT:

"* * * A BOOK OF REFERENCE DEPENDS NOT SO MUCH UPON THE SUBJECT MATTER TREATED AS THE METHOD OF TREATMENT AND THE USE TO WHICH PUT BY ITS USERS. LAW BOOKS, ALTHOUGH OF THE TEXTBOOK TYPE, IF USED FOR INSTRUCTION OR STUDY, MAY NEVERTHELESS BE PURCHASED UNDER AN APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR REFERENCE BOOKS, BUT NOT PROVIDING SPECIFICALLY FOR LAW BOOKS, WHERE THE BOOKS ARE FOR USE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES BY LAW CLERKS, ATTORNEYS, ETC.'

HERE CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN NOT SO MUCH TO THE SUBJECT MATTER BUT TO THE METHOD OF TREATMENT AND USE TO WHICH THE BOOKS ARE TO BE PLACED, RATHER THAN UPON THE NATURE OF THE TEXT OF THE BOOKS REQUIRED.

THESE LOT, SQUARE, HIGHWAY, AND PARK PLATS, WHILE THEY TAKE THE FORM OF BOUND VOLUMES, ARE NEVERTHELESS A SERIES OF BOUND MAPS. IF YOU WILL REFER TO SENATE DOCUMENT NO. 211, SUBMITTED IN JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS APPROPRIATION, YOU WILL FIND DESCRIBED UNDER CONTINGENT EXPENSES "4 PLAT BOOKS AT $125 EACH," CLEARLY INDICATING TO CONGRESS THAT IT WAS INTENDED TO PURCHASE BAIST'S ATLASES, WHICH ARE THE ONLY COMPLETE AVAILABLE DATA ON THIS SUBJECT, AND AS STATED BEFORE, ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL IN THE CONDUCT OF THE AFFAIRS OF THE ZONING COMMISSION.

YOUR EARLY DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THESE PLATS MAY BE PURCHASED FROM THE APPROPRIATION REFERRED TO ABOVE.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1898, 30 STAT. 316, PROVIDES:

THAT HEREAFTER LAW BOOKS, BOOKS OF REFERENCE, AND PERIODICALS FOR USE OF ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, OR OTHER GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENT NOT UNDER AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, SHALL NOT BE PURCHASED OR PAID FOR FROM ANY APPROPRIATION MADE FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES OR FOR ANY SPECIFIC OR GENERAL PURPOSE UNLESS SUCH PURCHASE IS AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT THEREFOR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE LAW GRANTING THE APPROPRIATION.

IN VIEW OF THE CHARACTER OF THE PUBLICATIONS HERE INVOLVED AND THE USE TO BE MADE OF THEM BY THE ZONING COMMISSION IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1938, 52 STAT. 797, IT MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT THEIR PURCHASE FOR SUCH PURPOSES WOULD NOT CONTRAVENE THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE PURCHASE OF BOOKS OF REFERENCE, AND THAT THE USE FOR SUCH PURCHASES OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 25, 1938, 52 STAT. 1120, FOR CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE AFORESAID ACT OF JUNE 20, 1938, IS NOT PROHIBITED BY THE ACT OF 1898, SUPRA. ..END :