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Y&H is still trying to untangle all the red tape that led to the bureaucratic snafu in Trinidad, where the owners of Capital City Diner were prevented today from moving their vintage 1947 dining car onto the foundation they poured at 1050 Bladensburg Rd NE. The problem, it seems, is that the contractor for business partners Matt Ashburn and Patrick Carl didn’t complete the foundation according to the blueprints previously approved by the city.
When the chief building inspector for the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs noticed that there apparently wasn’t enough concrete to support the diner —- and that it had set for only six days, not the required seven —- the inspector called Ashburn and Carl’s architect to have him prove that the project engineer had signed off on the changes. The architect, according to DCRA communications manager Mike Rupert, then faxed over a document in which the architect had forged the engineer’s signature.
There were other problems, too. Rupert says the Cap City Diner owners hadn’t secured the proper D.C. Department of Transportation permits to bring a wide load into the city and park it on public space. When contacted this afternoon, Ashburn said he thought he had the proper permits; the diner arrived, after all, with a police escort. But Ashburn also said he didn’t personally secure the DDOT permits himself. His architect apparently told him that he’d take care of it.
It’s still unclear how much had been settled by end of day. Ashburn believed that both the engineer and the city had, in the end, signed off on the foundation changes. He said workers were moving the diner in place even as he spoke. But Rupert said that workers were temporarily moving the diner to the foundation until new plans can be submitted and approved.
Whatever the situation, Rupert said the city is fully behind the Capital City Diner project. Both he and the chief engineer spent hours at the Bladensburg location, trying to get things resolved. “We’re a huge supporter of the project,” Rupert says.
One thing that all parties agree upon is that the architect is largely at fault for today’s problems. It looks, in fact, like the architect was performing work without a proper license himself. “It appears that may be the case,” Ashburn says.