Summary of DCRA Business Licensing Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 Impacts to Operations

The District of Columbia’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) – the agency that, among other tasks, issues building permits and business licenses – conducted a virtual meeting on April 15, 2020. More than 500 residents and business owners submitted their business licensing questions online during the meeting so that DCRA staff could respond in real time.

While the building at 1100 4th Street SW is closed during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, DCRA has remained open for business. DCRA staff are working remotely –likely through at least May 15, 2020 – and are responding to emails. This move to a remote work environment has resulted in the following important changes at DCRA:

  1. All business licenses must be filed online at the My DC Business Center, and occupancy permits must be filed online at the DCRA Portal. Note that you need to create an account, if you have not yet done so, to use these services.
  2. DCRA has launched a new live chat to field customer questions in real time. The chat feature can be accessed by navigating to dcra.dc.gov and scrolling down to the “Chat with us” icon.
  3. DCRA has created a special “DCRA Virtual Operations FAQ” that serves to address many common questions customers may have relating to permit issuance, inspections, enforcement, and payments. These FAQs cover issues relating to whether construction is still allowed (yes), how to process a Raze permit, and to how to make payments at DCRA. They are worth reviewing.
  4. The Office of the Zoning Administrator is conducting limited meetings via WebEx (for walk-through and home occupancy persons). However, all other in-person meetings have been suspended, including PDRM, Zoning Staff Meetings, and Conditional or Phased Certificate of Occupancy meetings. 

Cozen O’Connor will continue to monitor the situation and update this blog accordingly.

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Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use

Cozen O’Connor has represented residential, commercial, retail, and industrial builders in the development and redevelopment of building lots and millions of square feet of real estate. Our team handles every aspect of the zoning, land use, and development approvals process, from obtaining building permits and variances to negotiating stormwater management and traffic plans.

Head of the DC Zoning Group & Blog Editor