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For decades in this town, no city agency generated as much citizen grief as the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The Brobdingnagian agency, responsible for everything from corporate registrations to business license to housing inspections to surveying to weights and measure to elevator licensing, by the late ’90s had been widely recognized as a particular hellhole in a hellishly dysfunctional government.

Since then, though, under Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, the agency’s made a lot of strides in improving its image. But no DCRA activity generates as much continuing grief as procuring a building permit. Call it the last frontier for the new DCRA.

So here LL sits on the second floor of 941 North Capitol Street, inside the newly refurbished DCRA permit center, watching customers watch the Food Network (Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee, to be precise) in the waiting room.

The new digs are pretty, but has the actual customer experience improved? LL’s about to start polling permit-seeking citizens.