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DISTRICT

Permit office opens to ease backlog

The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) yesterday officially opened a new center aimed at streamlining the sometimes-cumbersome process of obtaining building and construction permits.

The new center uses a circular design that allows applicants to move from station to station and meet face to face with officials such as planning review coordinators and zoning engineers.

The center is one of the much-maligned agency’s steps aimed at improving customer service and clearing the red tape out of the permitting process.

In September, the department had a backlog of more than 3,000 zoning applications and more than 4,000 applications for structural permits.

But the backlog was greatly reduced by December. And since the agency opened a pilot of the new center in April, officials have served more than 8,900 customers and issued more than 5,100 permits.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty — who pledged to improve the agency before taking office and yesterday officially opened the center — championed the new design as a significant stride in improving the agency’s operations.

The opening came just days after interim DCRA Director Linda Argo removed Zoning Administrator Bill Crews from his post.

Agency spokeswoman Karyn-Siobhan Robinson said Mr. Crews was placed on administrative leave last week but that she could not comment on the specifics of his departure.

VIRGINIA

FAIRFAX

Dulles rail extension gets first funding

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved funding for the first half of a rail extension to Washington Dulles International Airport.

Yesterday’s 8-2 vote came despite supervisors’ misgivings about the project’s elevated design through Tysons Corner.

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