Tuesday, September 14, 2004


DC Government 1 - Elephant - 0

The Joys of Big City bureaucracy

Just thought I'd chime in with an update on my attempts to get a building permit for a new fence at my house. This morning I headed over to the DC permit office to get a building permit so I can construct a fence at my new house. The old, four foot high chain link fence dates to the 1940s and I'd like to replace it with a more decorative wood privacy fence.

Last night I downloaded the permit application from the DC government website. Good so far. The permit requires that an applicant submit a survey of the lot. I have a survey that came with the closing documents of the house, but it indicates that I can't use if for a fence permit application - go figure. So, my limited goal today was to get a copy of the plat and submit my permit application. Here's what transpired.

Trying to be savvy, I headed for the permit office first and grabbed a number (88). Then I went around the corner to get a copy of the survey plat (which I already have, but must pay another $30 for a new copy). I fill out the application for the plat and they give me a receipt to take to a different floor to pay. I do this (The cashiers were actually very nice). So, with my receipt I head back upstairs to give the receipt to the survey clerk. She informs me that it will take 7 to 10 business days to get a copy of the plat - again even though the survey book was right there on the counter and despite the fact that I already have a copy of the survey.

So, I go back in the permit line. Unfortunately, I've missed my number and they are on 91. So I get a new number 103. After waiting about 40 minutes, they were still on number 91, so I left.
I'm now trying to reach the landscaping contractor to push back the install date for my fence which was scheduled for next week. Oh Joy!

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