Today District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Director Linda Argo, and District Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Vivek Kundra announced the opening of the District’s first neighborhood online service center in Ward 5.
The new Virtual Permit Center offers a popular District online service, DCRA’s “Postcard Permit” for home improvements. The Center is located at a site that is a Mecca for home improvement professionals and do-it-yourselfers—the District’s The Home Depot store at 901 Rhode Island Ave NE. The Home Depot is highly Metro-accessible, right next to the Rhode Island Ave Metro station on the Red Line.
For the first time, District residents and licensed contractors planning home improvement projects can get both the materials they need, and the required permits, all in one trip. Permit applicants can also take advantage of Home Depot’s extended, seven-day-a-week service hours: 6 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday and 8 am-7 pm Sunday.
“We are always looking for ways to make District services more accessible and convenient for our residents,” said Mayor Fenty. Now residents can combine their permit application with their visit to Home Depot and skip the trip to DCRA.”
The Virtual Permit Center is easy to find in the front of The Home Depot store. There are two self-service kiosks each equipped with computers linked to the District’s Postcard Permit system. The online process for Postcard Permits at The Home Depot Virtual Permitting Center is exactly the same as from any other computer: The permit applicant submits the information required for the particular type of permit requested (e.g., plumbing, electrical, structural), pays the associated fee with a credit card, and prints out a paper permit for his or her records. The applicant can call the DCRA Permits Customer Service Center at (202) 442-4589 at any time for assistance in completing the process.
The new Virtual Permit Center is the latest in a series of enhancements to streamline and modernize DCRA’s building permitting process. Last year, DCRA unveiled a completely overhauled and innovative new permit center at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, Room 2300, offering customers a more efficient and pleasant environment, as well as accessibility for permit applicants with disabilities.
“We know how busy people are—and how much they’re paying for gas these days,” said DCRA Director Argo. “With the Virtual Permit Center, we aim to minimize time, expense, and hassle for every District resident who’s doing a home improvement project.”
The District’s central technology agency, the Office of the Technology Officer (OCTO), collaborated with DCRA and Home Depot to establish the new Virtual Permit Center.
“We thank our partners at The Home Depot for collaborating with us to bring District government services to our customers where it’s most convenient for them,” said CTO Kundra. “The Virtual Permit Center is one of many steps we’re taking to enable our customers to deal with government on their own time and their own terms.”
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