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D.C. doesn’t monitor private developers enough, according to limited audit

Developers aren’t perfect, and neither are the agencies monitoring them or the audit that concludes this

According to a new report by D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson, Washington, D.C. doesn’t do enough to ensure that private developers meet community benefit agreements.

Patterson, at the request of Councilwoman Anita Bonds, only reviewed two projects, Mission First Housing Group’s SeVerna on K and the Fisher Brothers’ Station House. While both developers complied with some or most of the requirements in their agreements, Patterson found that there was little to no monitoring of the performance by District agencies.

Washington Business Journal reported that in both cases, "the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and secondary agencies did not sufficiently monitor the developers’ progress toward meeting its goals on first source hiring, certified business enterprise spending, transportation management, public space improvements, and affordable housing."

In response to the audit, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s general counsel took issue with the sample size and timing of interviews. Washington Business Journal further reported that the audit didn’t mention the DMPED’s new project compliance monitoring system or the Department of Small and Local Business Development’s four new compliance specialists. In a response to the audit, Bowser’s team stated, "Systems are in place to ensure compliance."