Photo by Mr. T in DC.
Last night the ANC met for its February session (apparently they have a time machine that made last night actually February). GM couldn’t stay long due to his new paternal responsibilities, but the bits he caught are worth passing on.
The ANC invited the Director of DCRA, Nicholas Majett, to speak about his agency. Majett took his time to describe all the ways in which DCRA touches on DC citizens’ lives. From building permits, to corporation licensing, to inspections, DCRA is likely the agency you need to call when you have a problem.
While Majett’s presentation was interesting, the main draw for Georgetown was the situation with 1424 Wisconsin Ave. This property, which until last year hosted Ashhik clothes, was undergoing construction to become a Z-Burger. But on Thanksgiving day, half the building collapsed. Some have suggested that the cause of the collapsed was unauthorized excavation. Majett, however, suggested that if it was excavation that caused the collapse, it wasn’t unauthorized since the owner had a permit to dig.
Right now the parties seems to be engaged in a blame-sorting exercise. The ANC was a bit alarmed to find out that the structural engineer hired to determine the cause of the collapse was to be hired by the building owner. Tom Birch wondered whether that wasn’t a huge conflict of interest and that won’t the engineer be inclined to say it’s not the fault of the guy who’s paying him. Majett responded that it was the opposite of a conflict of interest since it put the responsibility on the building owner, not the government, to determine the cause. GM’s not quite sure that counts as “the opposite of a conflict of interest”, and the ANC remained skeptical too. They asked Majett to consider using an independent engineer to evaluate the collapse (particularly considering that the building owner in question has a history of building collapses in Georgetown).
After wrapping up the discussion on 1424 Wisconsin Ave., the ANC noted that there was another item on their agenda that touched on DCRA: food trucks. DCRA has proposed regulations governing food trucks, which up to this point have operated under the rules for ice cream trucks. The new regulations would address food trucks more directly and allow them to operate in any legal parking spot, under certain restrictions. Continue reading