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ANCs complain about missing DCRA notices

(Published March 8, 1999)


Staff Writer

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D is searching for its zoning notices. Commissioners haven’t misplaced them. They just never received them.

At Councilman David Catania’s recent series of ANC hearings, ANC 3D Commissioner Eleanor Roberts Lewis complained that city agencies stopped sending them the required notices about applications for building permits, fences and other neighborhood revisions two years ago. ANC 5B commissioners also complained about not receiving the notices and said they are upset at the lack of cooperation from city agencies, especially the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).

D.C. law requires city agencies to give written notice "of such District government actions or proposed actions…by mail to each Commission affected by said actions, except where shorter notice on good cause made and published with the notice may be provided or in the case of an emergency and such notice shall be published in the District of Columbia Register." D.C. law also states "the Department of Licenses, Investigation and Inspections shall ensure that each affected ANC is provided regularly by mail with a current list of applications for construction and demolition permits within the boundaries of that ANC."

"Usually every commissioner gets a copy, as well as the office," said Lewis.

DCRA spokeswoman Lyn Alexander said the office is not responsible for issuing that information. "I was told that the Office of Zoning sends them out," she said. Staff at the D.C. Office of Zoning said they haven’t sent out many hearing notices because the office is "short staffed." BZA notices for building permits and licenses are published in the D.C. Register, which is sent to ANCs.

Alexander said DCRA is supposed to send out Alcoholic Beverage Control information. She said she isn’t aware that DCRA stopped sending out that information.

According to D.C. law, the ABC board is supposed to give notice to ANCs at least 45 days prior to a hearing on applications for issuance or renewal of retailers’ licenses within their boundaries.

ANC 5B Chairman George Boyd also expressed his disappointment in how the District and federal governments treat ANCs.

"ANCs are shown no appreciation or recognition," Boyd said, noting commissioners are not paid for their service. Boyd, along with other commissioners from ANCs 5A and 5C, said they also are concerned that agency directors are not attending their meetings. Carl Schmid, spokesman for Catania’s office, said Catania advised ANC commissioners at a Feb. 27 training session to call the agencies with which they’re experiencing problems, then call the public advocate and his office if the problems aren’t resolved.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator