According to the Washington Business Journal, COVID-19 is spurring zoning officials in Washington DC to consider a six-month extension for projects that are facing key deadlines. The idea is to extend approvals that expire between April 27 and Dec. 31 so developers have more time for permitting. The deadline extension would apply to any project approved by either the Zoning Commission or the Board of Zoning Adjustment. Zoning officials are asking the Zoning Commission to approve the change at its April 27 meeting.

“This pandemic has kept businesses from operating as usual, with many having to cease operating altogether,” said zoning staffers. “This text amendment would avoid potential expiration of orders and approvals of the commission and BZA caused by administrative disruptions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the associated risk to the District’s economic state.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser has thus far allowed construction on commercial and residential projects to proceed despite her stay-at-home order for the city. Nevertheless, some developers have slowed work in order to avoid having too many workers present in confined spaces at the same time.

Other problems have emerged in securing entitlements for major projects. While inspectors at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs have generally been able to conduct business as usual, or move some processes online, many advisory neighborhood commission meetings have been postponed or struggled with new virtual proceedings.

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