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Within the past few years, the creation of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) has been an important change in the District of Columbia government. OAH is viewed by many as an innovative government agency that provides fair and impartial administrative adjudication for District agencies, with efficiency. However, since OAH began full operations in 2004, the effectiveness of historic preservation enforcement has actually decreased. The primary indicators of this are the fewer number of completed adjudications and the smaller amount of fines collected in the past year.

This paper is a policy paper. As such, the paper will identify problems in historic preservation enforcement that have arisen during the transition to OAH's centralized adjudicative system, as well as offer possible solutions to such problems. Prior to identifying the problems, however, it is important to summarize the enforcement process within the District so that the identified problems can be placed in their proper context.