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DC Council Reintroduces Department of Buildings Bill

by Nena Perry-Brown

A year ago, DC Council chair Phil Mendelson introduced a bill to spin off the building permitting responsibilities of DC's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) into a newly-created Department of Buildings (DOB). Now, the bill has returned to the docket.

On Tuesday, Mendelson introduced the Department of Buildings Act of 2019, a word-for-word reintroduction of the Department of Buildings Act of 2018. The DOB would oversee construction permits, residential housing safety and maintenance, building and zoning codes and the like.

Last April, the DC Council held a hearing on the bill and 30 people testified, nearly all unified in expressing the need for increased tenant protections and a reformed building permitting and inspection system. Most of those who testified either believed the bill lacked specificity on implementation and metrics, didn't go far enough, or that dividing DCRA's duties would be futile without — and is a lesser priority than — reform of existing practices.

Despite the extensive feedback, it doesn't appear that the 2018 bill was considered further following the hearing. Ostensibly, the current bill will also go through a similar public review process. If the bill becomes law this time around, the DOB would be scheduled to launch this October. All relevant DCRA functions would be migrated to DOB in October 2020.

Default photo by Ted Eytan

See other articles related to: department of buildings, dcra, dc council, building permits

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc-council-reintroduces-department-of-buildings-bill/14922

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