In D.C., Private Firms Approve Permit Applications

In a unique situation in Washington D.C., selected private firms are authorized to approve development permit applications on behalf of the city's overworked and dysfunctional Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs apartment.
October 19, 2005, 7am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"The process was formalized in a 2002 law and continues to offer anyone who needs a permit a way around the still-dysfunctional and overworked DCRA. Developers pay for the private, city-blessed reviewer and cough up the standard municipal permitting fees when the District gives final approval to a project. Paying for a third-party review buys certainty for developers, who bleed green when projects are delayed.

...In recent years, development has boomed across the city, pushing up demand for permits and inspections. Without the third-party system, the DCRA would be even more overwhelmed than it already is.

...Even those who can afford third-party circumventions are perplexed by the DCRA’s continuing dysfunction. Jim Abdo, president of Abdo Development, can’t understand why the District doesn’t devote more resourcesâ€"and ask bigger fees from fat catsâ€"to beef up the review staff."

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Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 in Washington City Paper
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