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DCRA Virtual Operations FAQs

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

 

We understand if you have more questions than usual. We have put together a special set of frequently asked questions to address any outstanding questions you may have.


Are your offices open and operating as usual?

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) remains operational, but our office located at 1100 4th Street SW will be unavailable to the public for in-person services from Wednesday, March 25, 2020, until Monday, April 27, 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In the meantime, we are encouraging residents and businesses to use our online services. Should you have any questions about how to use any of our services online, please use the live chat feature on our website or call us at (202)442-4400 during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm EST), or email us any time at dcra@dc.gov. For more information on COVID-19 and the District’s response, visit coronavirus.dc.gov.

 

How do I request to meet with a specific individual about a project or problem related to a project?

Please fill out this online form and someone will contact you and direct you to the specific individual you need to speak with. Don’t worry if you’re unsure; our team will ask you a few simple questions and then direct you to the correct person.

 

I’m not sure what I need, but want some guidance. What do I do?

We are happy to help in any way. Please fill out this online form with a brief description of what you’d like help with, or use the live chat feature on our website. We will route your request to the best individual to help you. Please provide a valid email address and contact number so we can assist you.

 

I have a business/professional/vending license expiring soon. What do I do and will I get a late fee?

Any business licenses, professional/occupational licenses, vending licenses, etc. that expire during the declared emergency will be considered valid, and people will have until 45 days after the declared emergency is over to renew their licenses (90 days for special police officers). Please note all of the following can be done online at any time: apply for/renew a business license, register a corporation, and form an LLC.

 

How do I file my 2020 biennial reports?

Customers filing 2020 biennial reports between April 2 and June 1 will not incur the late filing fee. The same is true for trade name renewals.

 

I have an inspection scheduled soon, what do I do?

Inspections are occurring on a daily basis, as is customary. There are no changes in the process to schedule an inspection. Please note that as we have a limited number of inspectors, there is always the option of using a third party inspector. Please be aware there are additional fees if a third party inspector is used, along with some minor paperwork.

 

Is construction still allowed?

Construction continues to be allowed in the District Monday – Saturday from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm without any special permits. Construction sites should follow coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for Construction Sites provided by DC Health, which can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov/page/business-and-non-profit-resources. DCRA inspectors are continuing to investigate reports of illegal construction throughout the District.

 

How do I report suspicious and illegal behavior?

Consumer protection complaints will continue to be investigated, and we encourage residents to report fraudulent and illegal behavior by emailing dcra@dc.gov.

 

How do I process a permit that used to be “walked through” at DCRA?

Effective March 20, 2020, DCRA implemented the digital walk-through process that includes a full DCRA plan review of your project in our ePlan review system, ProjectDox. Please view our six-step process from start to finish for details of how the process works. For the digital walk-through, all reviews conducted by DCRA will be completed by the next business day, following acceptance of the plans in ProjectDox. For more information, please visit our digital walk-through process webpage.

 

How do I complete the walk-through process for a project when reviews have already been initiated?

For projects that have already started the physical walk-through process, please fill out this online form. You must provide a valid email address and contact number in your submission. Include your permit number, attach your coversheet and plans in PDF format. Your request will be further reviewed by any outstanding DCRA plan review disciplines. You will be notified of next steps once all approvals are received, or if additional information is required to complete the review. For more information, please visit our digital walk-through process webpage.

 

How do I submit a plumber permit for sprinkler devices?

If you are applying for a plumbing trade permit for sprinkler devices (e.g., Sprinkler NFPA 13, Sprinkler NFPA 13D & Sprinkler NFPA 13R), please fill out this online form. Include your plumbing permit application and a copy of the business license for the fire sprinkler company for intake and review. You must provide a valid email address and contact number with your submission. You will be emailed the permit number and instructions on how to pay the permit fees online. Once the fees are paid, please notify the DCRA representative assisting you so we can issue your permit.

 

How do I complete the Raze permit process once all letters are received?

Once you have received all of your raze letters, please send all approval letters to dcra@dc.gov so they can be sent to a plan review coordinator for review and invoicing. Once approved, you will be notified by the permit review coordinator to make the payment online for permit issuance.

 

How do I submit my Home Occupation Permit (HOP) application electronically?

Please send your completed application and supporting documents to coapp@dc.gov. In your submission, please put in “HOP – [List the application address]” in the subject line. You will be notified if anything additional is needed for approval and when the HOP is ready for payment and issuance.

 

How do I submit my Certificate of Use (CU) application electronically?

How do I submit my Certificate of Use (CU) application electronically?
Please send your completed application and supporting documents to coapp@dc.gov. In your submission, please put in “CU – [List the application address]” in the subject line. You will be notified if anything additional is needed for approval and when the CU is ready for payment and issuance.

How do I get the fees invoiced for any permit application to pay online?

If fees* have not already been invoiced for your permit application, please email dcra@dc.gov and provide your permit number. We will review and notify you when payment can be made online and if anything additional is needed prior to issuance.

 

*At the moment, all payments must be made online with a credit card.

Once my permit is ready for issuance, how do I make a payment online if it is not listed within my records?
Payments are made within your user account If you already have an account, log in. Enter your permit number in the search field and select “Add Fees to Cart.” In your cart, located at the top of the page, select “Check Out” to pay the fees. After payment, a receipt will be automatically generated for your records.

How do I submit my application for a new address?

To apply for a new address, please fill out this online form. Allow five to 10 business days for review. Once approved, you can make your payment online. You will receive your new address confirmation letter via email after your payment has been made.

 

I have an Accelerated Plan Review appointment scheduled, what do I do?

In consideration of the commitment you have made to participate in DCRA’s Accelerated Review Program, we intend to deliver the same quality of service to your team. Any upcoming meetings will be held virtually via WebEx; there will be no in-person Velocity meetings until the public health emergency is over. Meeting participants will be notified in advance of their scheduled meeting with instructions. Reviewers will provide comments and approvals on the same schedule as they have in the past. If your team would prefer not to have a WebEx meeting during the current public health emergency, we will work with you to schedule an in-person meeting when operations return to normal.

 

I registered to participate in a small business workshop, is this event still scheduled?

DCRA’s Small Business Resource Center (SBRC) is offering virtual, over-the-phone webinars and one-on-one consultations focused on helping District entrepreneurs open businesses and navigate the regulatory process. We will not be offering in-person consultations until after the public health emergency has ended. These opportunities are geared toward future and current business owners looking to conduct business in the District. Through these sessions, participants will learn how to register their business (i.e., Limited Liability Company, Corporation, Non-Profit, etc.) and the basic steps of obtaining a business license. To view available workshops, please visit dcrasbrc.ecenterdirect.com. For questions, call (202)442-4538 or send an email to dcrasbrc@dc.gov.

 

How do I get a building plat signed for permitting purposes with the Surveyor’s Office?

To get a digital signature for your plat, please fill out this online form.

 

How do I record a wall check or survey with the Surveyor’s Office?

To record a wall check or survey, please fill out this online form.

 

How do I submit mylar plans and other items requiring wet signatures, etc. to the Surveyor’s Office?

The Surveyor’s Office is accepting scanned documents. Please fill out this online form and attached your scanned documents.

 

Does the Zoning Office have new procedures?

Yes, the Zoning Office has made numerous changes to meet our customers’ needs in light of the current health emergency.

 

The following services and meetings have been converted and will be conducted via conference call or WebEx:

  • “Walk Thru” building permit applications
  • Home Occupation Permit (HOP) applications (email completed application and supporting documents to coapp@dc.gov and include the property address in the subject line)

The following in-person services are not available at this time:

  • Zoning Plan Design Review Meetings (PDRM)
  • Staff meetings with applicants regarding Zoning comments (ex., Hold for Comments)
  • Conditional or phased occupancy Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) meetings
  • Zoning compliance staff meetings related to an alleged zoning violation
  • Individual meetings with a Supervising Zoning Technician, Deputy Zoning Administrator, or the Zoning Administrator

What zoning forms are available online?

The following zoning-related forms are available online:

 

  • GAR Landscape Checklist
  • Eating Establishment Questionnaire
  • ZA Modification Form - BZA Orders
  • ZA Modification Form - ZC Orders
  • Declaration of Covenants Document
  • CIZC and Penthouse forms

How do I schedule an appointment with the Office of Zoning Administrator?

To schedule an appointment, fill out this online form and someone will contact you.

 

What zoning-related online programs, resources and databases are available to me?

How do I submit of a hard copy document for zoning review, approval, etc.?

Any document that needs to be reviewed by the Office of the Zoning Administrator should be scanned into a PDF and submitted online. This includes a completed form, draft covenant, zoning certification, raze permit letter, and any documents requested by zoning staff or provided by you in response to a zoning compliance complaint and violation. Please be sure to:

 

  1. Specify in your request that you need a zoning review.
  2. Provide the property address.
  3. List the type of document/s you submitted.

For documents related to a pending building permit or Certificate of Occupancy application, please email those documents directly to the zoning technician who is reviewing the application.

How can I learn more about a zoning hold on my property or get it removed?

Please fill out this online form, and it will be routed to the Office of the Zoning Administrator.

 

Are zoning complaints, inspections and investigation requests being accepted?

Yes. Please fill out this online form and it will be routed to the Office of the Zoning Administrator. Provide as much detail about your concerns. Include specific references to the zoning regulations that are being violated, and any supporting pictures/videos.

 

How do I get DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) parking signs?

Visit DDOT's website to access this information.

 

How is DC Water accepting plan review and payments?

DC Water is establishing an alternate location at the Blue Plains Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) to handle permit applications, payments, and issuance of signed plans. The address below also accepts mail and FedEx. DC Water is encouraging people to respond to review comments via email. DC Water is also working on a web-based drop box for remote plan submissions; however, it is not able to accept online payments. Therefore, DC Water still needs the physical check for payments (credit card payment will not be accepted). The alternate location will be open to the public for drop off and pick up only (operating hours will be from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday).

 

Initial submissions/resubmission will be accepted without an invoice and should be accompanied by a check for either $140 or $75 (visit DC Water’s website to determine the exact amount). All other fee payments must accompany an invoice, be made via check and in the exact amount that is on the invoice. For questions, call (202)646-8600.

Mail or FedEx to DC Water to the address below:
DC Water c/o Permit Operations
5000 Overlook Ave. SW
Washington DC 20032

How can we make payments for permits and fees at DCRA?

Currently, payments can be made online for up to $150,000 for permits/fees by credit card. Fees larger than $150,000 can be made out to the DC Treasurer and submitted in-person to 1101 4th Street SW, W1665. The Cashier’s Office is still open to the public Monday – Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.