Posted tagged ‘Council oversight hearings’

Commissioner Boese Testifies Before Council for Improved DCRA

March 8, 2016

Boese DCRA Feb 29 2016

On February 29, 2016, Commissioner Boese testified before the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs, focusing his testimony on the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and its need for improvement. While he acknowledged some positive changes within the department over the past year, there is still much room for improvement. Through his engagement with DCRA over the past year, he has discovered wrongly issued building permits and construction that does not match the plans reviewed in the permitting process among other problems.

Chief among the improvements he requested are:

  • The ability to accurately review building plans, issued building permits, and measure building heights;
  • To have all relevant building permits and documents publicly and freely available online, as the D.C. Code has required for more than 10 years;
  • The ability to maintain a history of Stop Work Orders and the corrective actions taken to remove the Stop Work Orders; and,
  • The strict adherence of zoning regulations.

During the hearing, Councilmember Orange asserted that while DCRA can still improve, he didn’t believe that DCRA was as broken or failing to function as some testifying had stated. He referenced the strong development of the District and the fact that DCRA issues over 35,000 building permits a year — using this as an indicator that DCRA is doing something right. Boese countered that a strong real estate market and the resulting increase in development are the cause of the increase in the number of building permits issued — but that this has no relationship to how well DCRA is operating. During the hearing Councilmember Orange often intertwined the issue of DCRA operations and the District’s revitalization and population growth — along with what he felt was his role in it — ultimately clouding the discussion.

You can watch the entire hearing here. Commissioner Boese’s testimony can be found between 03:11:48 and 03:52:42.

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