Gas Station Sits Untouched One Year After Fire

The gas station at 1576 Wisconsin Ave. verges on being declared 'vacant and blighted' one year after a fire ripped through the building March 15, 2011.

A year after a fire raged through the gas station at 1576 Wisconsin Ave., the property remains gated, boarded-up and now it might end up on a "vacant and blighted" list.

at the Georgetown Auto Shop and Washingtonian convenience store just before 8 a.m. March 15, 2011. It began in the repair garage, but soon engulfed the entire small building at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Q Street, emitting a stack of smoke that could be seen from the Key Bridge.

D.C. Fire and EMS personnell indicated that the fire was most likely the result of fumes from the auto repair shop .

Bobby Gonzalez, the owner of Georgetown Auto Service, had operated his Georgetown location since 2003. In several conversations with Patch, most recently in February, Gonzalez said that the property owner still wants him as a tenant whenever the property is repaired.

The reason for the delay? Gonzalez said to his knowledge it was the "nightmare" of getting the appropriate permits.

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) records show that the owners submitted a permit application at the beginning of September for construction work to repair fire damage, but nothing has happened since that time.

Helder Gil from DCRA explained that after the permit was filed, an inspector went to the site to determine whether or not the plans were sufficient to make the space habitable after the fire.

Gil said that the inspector determined that he needed more information and an engineer's report on the property. The owners have to come in with an engineer and their drawings and plans to show how the permits would be sufficient to make the space habitable again.

, "I am doing everything humanly possible," to get the space back in use. But, he has not responded in over a month to Patch's most recent inquiries about the property.

Since the September permit and inspection, the property owners have not taken any of the necessary steps to be able to proceed with their permit application process, said Gil.

In January, DCRA issued a letter to the owners of 1576 Wisconsin Ave. asking that they register as a vacant and blighted property. So far DCRA has no record of a response from the owners.

Gil said the list of vacant and blighted properties goes to the Office of Tax and Revenue later this week, but he was not sure if 1576 Wisconsin Ave. would be on the list.

CDCWDC March 16, 2012 at 02:28 PM
So this is NOT a DCRA issue but the failure or inability of the property owner to comply with the law and move forward. According to your article, the owner is not even responding to the Georgetown Patch. I think Shaun Courtney owes DCRA an apology for writing a clearly misleading and inaccurate article.
Doug Tallman March 16, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Dear CDCWDC -- I'm sorry but I'm not sure I understand what Shaun needs to apologize for. We can converse here or you can email me at douglas@patch.com. Doug


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