I’ve heard of 7 buildings falling down in the neighborhoods surrounding me – Dupont, Adams Morgan, Logan, and Shaw – in the past year. Last year, I sat down with the Chief Building Inspector to show him the press clippings of 4 of them. He hadn’t heard of them. Most of these were Victorian brick houses or early 20th century apartment buildings that were under construction or where the neighboring lot was under construction. Almost every one in the city knows what a painful process it is to get a permit to do such construction and how inspectors come around at every stage in the process. How hard could it be to only permit and monitor work that will not allow buildings to fall down? They have the PR that they are busting illegal construction: D.C. Battling Boom in Illegal Work on Homes
There are plenty of related atrocities: the permitting of the demolition of historically significant structures, the ease with which contractors can limbo the law, and the lack of responsiveness when a violation is reported (they’ll come out to look at it but getting action is the problem.) I’ve been to 3 hearings of the Board of Condemnation. Not one of the hearings had a quorum. It’s supposed to be a 7 member board. Two of the hearing I attended had two members and one hearing had one member.