Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Permitting Fees at Last Year's Rates to Encourage Business Friendly Climate

FREDERICK, MD – Frederick County permitting fees were due to automatically increase as of July 1 by 3.2 percent to keep pace with inflation this year. But, with business-friendly goals of utmost concern to the Frederick Board of County Commissioners, the board recently chose to keep rates the same as last year.

The board also agreed to clarify fee schedule policies in the Community Development Division to provide clarity and consistency with other regulatory issues in the Department of Permits and Inspections. It establishes, eliminates and/or clarifies other fees for certain approvals that are a result of new or modified planning and development review approval processes and also incorporates comprehensive planning and zoning fees into the fee schedule to coincide with the division’s reorganization last year.

Key changes in the fee schedule include the clarification to the “agricultural buildings” definition to be consistent with the building code; establishing of a “minimum permit” fee instead of a “per square foot” charge, and elimination of the fire code revision fee charged for additional plan reviews. In addition, the board will exempt the county’s capital improvement program from payment of the fees in accordance with its strategic goal to “consider eliminating review fees for county capital projects.”

Board President Blaine Young commented, “We believe that holding the permitting fees at the same rate is good for business, and what is good for business is good for Frederick County. The decisions the board has made are part of our strategic goals to consider proposals to reduce, alter or eliminate rules and regulations to help improve county processes.

“We commend our employees for working diligently to help businesses more easily and efficiently navigate their way through the process. We welcome continued feedback from our citizens -- from the homeowner to the large business to the small business.”

At the beginning of their term in office, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners initiated a review of over 200 recommended changes to rules and regulations as part of their goal to improve the “business friendly” atmosphere in Frederick County, and have made good progress toward completion.

The items on the “business friendly action items” list were proposed after meetings with officials from the former Permitting and Development Review and Economic Development Divisions and members of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, Frederick County Builders Association, commercial business representatives and many other stakeholders.

The changes coincide with the Board of County Commissioners’ proposed Strategic Plan goal of providing improved predictability for businesses. The goal states that “Frederick County needs to implement predictability in the business community in order to reduce inefficiencies, allow cost control, provide an effective process and increase understanding in daily business processes within Frederick County Government.”

For further information, visit www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/permits or contact Director Gary Hessong, Permits and Inspections Department, at 301-600-1172 or via e-mail at ghessong@FrederickCountyMD.gov.