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DIY Sleuthing: D.C.'s Building Permit Database

A few months ago I wrote in my column about Brian Kraft, the indefatigable computer whiz who spent seven years entering every D.C. building permit issued between 1877 and 1949 into a database.

His database isn't on the Web yet (there are plans to do that). But people researching the history of their house or any other structure in town can consult it in the Washingtoniana Room at the Martin Luther King Library downtown. Brian also offers occasional workshops on using the database. One of those is coming up on June 9th at MLK. If you're interested in attending, send an e-mail to Bruce in the D.C. Historic Preservation Office. There will be two free sessions, one at 3 p.m. and one at 6:30 p.m.

By John Kelly  |  June 3, 2009; 10:40 AM ET
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It is time to put the permits issued somewhere...just recently, I noticed an owner of a house doing illegal work. The permit did not include the work...4 years ago, the same owner got away with illegal work that went way beyond the permit issued. The work caused a blockage of the next owners house view, added a loud AC right next to the other owner...we must stop any money under the table and require the proper permits to be respected and owners to not cheat DC out of the proper amount of money paid for the permit.

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | June 3, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

DCRA has them online, both the longer permits and the short ones, or at least a brief description of the work.

The problem you point to is one of enforcement, which is woefully inadequate. Not much you can do if someone doesn't get a permit and the city doesn't enforce the rules against that.

Posted by: ah___ | June 9, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

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