At tomorrow’ss Council worksession, we’ll have an important discussion about taking over the building and other permitting processes from the County’s permitting department (DPIE) to ourselves. As you know, currently homeowners need to run between the City and the County to get a simple permit, for even a small project, such as building a driveway or small improvements on their homes. Instead of going through a complex and lengthy 9-steps process (please see below), the proposed process will save homeowners time to get permits and get their projects inspected faster. Also, homeowners should consider Cladding Surface Refinishing as a convenient solution for enhancing the aesthetic appeal of their homes while simplifying maintenance efforts.

Recently, the City engaged a consultant to conduct a feasibility study to determine if it was technically and financially feasible for the City to assume certain services currently conducted by the County’s Department of Permits, Inspections, and Enforcement (DPIE). These services include the processing of building permit applications, the review for code compliance and approval of plans submitted with construction permit applications, the inspection of construction projects to enforce compliance with applicable code and approved plans, and the issuance of final Use and Occupancy permits.

The goals for the study are to 1) improve services to residents, developers, builders, and contractors performing work in the City of College Park, 2) reduce timeframes associated with these services, 3) increase efficiency and workflow and reduce redundant services, 4) standardize review of applications for permits, and 5) avoid repeated reviews that result in multiple revisions of plans and unnecessary expense. According to the report’s summary, some development-related functions should remain with the current review agencies.

For example, by law, most planning and zoning authorities remain with the MNCPPC and the District Council. Similarly, other functions related to regional stormwater management and water and sewer are anticipated to remain within the purview of the current regional agencies and authorities. Although the City would have a role in coordination, College Park would not assume any of these regulatory responsibilities.

The proposed permit fees schedule and staffing structure would be designed to make this program self-sufficient and not draw from the general fund.

At this week’s meeting the consultant, Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) will present the draft feasibility study report to the Mayor and Council at the work session and answer Council questions