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Program Contacts

Contact Barbara Suter of the Department of Permitting Services at 240.777.6244 or Jennifer Nordin of the Office of Management and Budget at 240.777.2779 for more information regarding this department's operating budget.

Related Links

Mission Statement

The Department of Permitting Services' (DPS) primary mission is to promote the health, safety and welfare and economic well-being of residents, businesses and communities of Montgomery County with timely, professional, transparent and consistent review and processing of plans and permits and through inspections of structures, rights-of-way and development. DPS protects the public through application and enforcement of national, state and local codes for fire and life safety, electrical, mechanical, energy, accessibility, building and other public safety and zoning codes. DPS protects the environment through application and enforcement of national, state and local environmental protection codes protecting our natural resources. DPS protects residential and business communities and users of public rights-of-way through inspections of work within public rights-of-way and inspections to assure adherence to approved site plans and special exceptions. DPS strives to promote economic well-being and customer service through ongoing process improvements, timely response and service while ensuring that structures are safe for occupants and visitors, sustainable for future generations and that development is consistent with requirements to protect the environment.

Budget Overview

The total approved FY18 Operating Budget for the Department of Permitting Services is $38,874,829, an increase of $1,130,237 or 2.99 percent from the FY17 Approved Budget of $37,744,592. Personnel Costs comprise 75.07 percent of the budget for 236 full-time position(s) and two part-time position(s), and a total of 243.75 FTEs. Total FTEs may include seasonal or temporary positions and may also reflect workforce charged to or from other departments or funds. Operating Expenses account for the remaining 24.93 percent of the FY18 budget.

Linkage to County Result Areas

While this program area supports all eight of the County Result Areas, the following are emphasized:

  • An Effective and Efficient Transportation Network
  • Healthy and Sustainable Neighborhoods
  • A Responsive, Accountable County Government
  • Safe Streets and Secure Neighborhoods
  • Strong and Vibrant Economy
  • Vital Living for All of Our Residents

Department Performance Measures

Performance measures for this department are included below (where applicable), with multi-program measures displayed at the front of this section and program-specific measures shown with the relevant program. The FY17 estimates reflect funding based on the FY17 approved budget. The FY18 and FY19 figures are performance targets based on the FY18 approved budget and funding for comparable service levels in FY19.

The department combines department and applicant time components when measuring "total time to issue a permit." These times may be impacted by satisfaction of related preconditions such as sediment control submissions and approvals and outside agency approvals.

Accomplishments

  • Implemented eServices for sediment control, stormwater concept plans, special protection area, additional right-of-way services, and demolition; and mandated the use of eServices for utilities, fire alarms, and electrical. The department processed more than 7,111 plans electronically in FY16, resulting in increased time savings and reduced environmental impacts;

  • Performed a comprehensive study and restructuring of all fees in FY16. The revised residential fees eliminated a regressive rate system, reduced permit fees for smaller houses, and provided a reduced rate for Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU) in multifamily structures;
  • Processed unprecedented FY16 work volumes including: 60,543 permits and licenses, 5,182 information requests, 4,858 service requests,128,439 customer counter visits, 16,418 MC311service requests, and special projects including Clarksburg Outlets, United Therapeutics and Suburban Hospital;

  • Launched a Design For Life website, brochure, and bus advertisement;

  • Developed life safety solutions for the County's subdivision regulations rewrite;

  • Received Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) renewal of delegation for stormwater.

Initiatives

  • Improve customer service by: (1) expanding eServices, (2) updating homeowner's electrical exams, (3) updating the land development permit applications, (4) automating electrical license renewals and insurance committals, and (5) identifying Fire Prevention and Code Compliance permits, approvals, and inspections that can be combined.
  • Improve customer access to information by: (1) redeveloping the DPS website, (2) developing a fee estimator for customers, (3) establishing a Places of Worship open house, and (4) developing a cross-agency Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
  • Implement the (1) International Green Construction Code (IGCC), (2) the County's Subdivision Staging Plan, (3) impact tax rates and policy areas, (4) permits for private road closures, and (5) permits for ownership units.

  • Continue migration to eServices for mechanical, signs, use and occupancy, and mandate the use of ePermits and ePlans for commercial permits, fences, fire protection systems, and residential rooftop solar.

  • Reduce sediment control plan review processing times to 20 days.

Innovations and Productivity Improvements

  • Launched an expedited processing program for solar permits;
  • Developed a shared address database with Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC);
  • Successfully implemented the County Executive's 30 Day Plan Review initiative.

Collaboration and Partnerships

Artisan Manufacturing Zone

Department of Permitting Services collaborated with the County Council to implement the new artisan manufacturing zone to craft distilleries, increasing opportunities for small businesses and improving the night-time economy of the County.

 
Coordinated Sign Sweeps

Department of Permitting Services has coordinated "sign sweeps" with Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Community Affairs to collect illegal signs in right-of-ways.

 
Recipes for Success Program

Department of Permitting Services provides free pre-design consultations and welcome packets for restaurant owners starting a business in Montgomery County. Pre-design consultations streamline the County's licensing and permitting processes by bringing all the involved agencies (Department of Liquor Control, Health and Human Services, Economic Development, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and others) together.

 
Stormwarter Managment and Water Quality Efficiencies

DPS supports stormwater management efforts by securing rights of entry to inspect stormwater facilities and developing Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) with the Department of Environmental Protection to streamline permits for water quality projects.

 
2016 Subdivision Staging Policy

Department of Permitting Services is collaborating with the Department of Transportation, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), and County Council staff to implement the Subdivision Staging Policy through the development of electronic processes for assessing and collecting impact taxes and trip mitigation payments.

 

Program Descriptions

  Land Development

The Land Development program is responsible for ensuring the protection of the County's land and water resources and for the protection of the environment and the safety of residents and businesses through its engineering and inspection functions related to stormwater management, sediment control, floodplain management, special protection areas, well-and-septic systems approval, storm drain design and construction, roadside tree protection, tree canopy enhancement, record plat approval, fire department access, and compliance and work in the public right-of-way.

Program Performance MeasuresActual
FY15
Actual
FY16
Estimated
FY17
Target
FY18
Target
FY19
Right-of-way Permits -- DPS average review time (In days)5.75.1555
Sediment Control Permits - DPS average review time (In days)37.3529.9303030
Septic Permits -- DPS average review time (In days)15.2618.2121212
Well Permits -- DPS average review time (In days)11.616.8121010
Record Plats -- DPS average review time (In days)9.712.98999
Sediment Control Enforcement -- Percentage of Inspections in compliance with code/law95.295.7959595
Successful Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Delegation of Review of Sediment Control and Storm-Water ManagementN/AYesN/AYesN/A

  Residential Building Construction & Intake

The Residential Building and Intake program is responsible for ensuring public safety through the effective enforcement of residential building construction codes and standards. This is accomplished through engineering plan review and construction inspection related to the administration and enforcement of building, structural, electrical, mechanical, fire-safety, and energy conservation codes and standards. This program processes all building permit applications, issues permits, maintains related records, and seeks correction of building code violations through a complaints program.This program is also responsible for conducting damage assessments during natural and other disasters and incidents and provides assistance in disaster recovery efforts.

Program Performance MeasuresActual
FY15
Actual
FY16
Estimated
FY17
Target
FY18
Target
FY19
Residential (home) Permits -- Additions -- Average total time (In days)1921.9171717
Residential (home) Permits -- Additions -- DPS average review time (In days)77.1666
Residential (home) Permits -- New Construction -- Average total time (In days)73.2368.3606060
Residential (home) Permits -- New Construction -- DPS average review time (In days)18.722.8161616
Residential (home) Fast Track -- Percentage of permits serviced within 2.5 hours9590.7959595
Mechanical Permits -- Percentage of walk-in service permit within 2 hours98.1498.2989898
Electrical Permits -- Percentage of walk-in service permit within 2 hours97.798.8989898

  Commercial Building Construction

The Commercial Construction program is responsible for ensuring public safety through the effective enforcement of commercial building construction codes and standards. This is accomplished through engineering plan review and construction inspection related to the administration and enforcement of building, structural, electrical, mechanical, fire-safety, and energy conservation codes and standards. This program processes building, mechanical and electrical permit applications, issues permits, and maintains related records. The program also seeks correction of unpermitted building, electrical, and mechanical code violations through a complaints program. This program is also responsible for conducting damage assessments during natural and other disasters and incidents and provides assistance in disaster recovery efforts.

Program Performance MeasuresActual
FY15
Actual
FY16
Estimated
FY17
Target
FY18
Target
FY19
Commercial Permits -- Additions -- Average total time (In days)100.1122909090
Commercial Permits -- Additions -- DPS average review time (In days)3732.7353535
Commercial Permits -- New Construction -- Average total time (In days)151.1085.5909090
Commercial Permits -- New Construction -- DPS average review time (In days)49.934.5454545
Commercial Fast Track -- Percentage of permits serviced within 2.5 hours74.5874.18808080
Building Construction Inspections -- Percentage occurring on scheduled day96.997.2989898

  Administration

The Administration program provides policy development and leadership for all programs within the department. Staff specialists are responsible for a full range of administrative, financial, and budgetary tasks, including daily operations, revenue collection (fees and development taxes and charges), reporting and management, automation, human resources, fleet management, training, safety, quality assurance, legislative coordination, space management, historic files maintenance, and management services. This program provides outreach, customer service satisfaction and case management, which coordinates DPS disciplines engaged in plan reviews on complex projects or projects needing a higher level of assistance such as "green tape" projects (i.e., affordable housing and areas such as the Silver Spring, Wheaton, and Long Branch enterprise zones, strategic economic development projects, strategic redevelopment areas such as White Flint, and faith based institutions). This program receives complaints, processes information requests, maintains the DPS web site, publishes the DPS newsletter, and coordinates outreach events and seminars for residents, civic organizations, and professionals.

Program Performance MeasuresActual
FY15
Actual
FY16
Estimated
FY17
Target
FY18
Target
FY19
Complaint resolution -- Average number of days from complaint filing to final resolution14.8311.62121212
Complaint response -- Average number of days from the complaint being filed to first inspection contact with customer3.382.23333
MPIA responses - Percentage of information requests responded to within 30 days after receipt by DPS9798.3100100100

  Zoning and Site Plan Enforcement

The Zoning and Site Plan Enforcement program protects the quality of life in Montgomery County and the public heath, safety, welfare, and comfort through the effective application and enforcement of zoning code standards and M-NCPPC certified site plan requirements. This division reviews plans prior to permit issuance and conducts inspections, as well as investigates complaints in order to administer and enforce the zoning standards established by Chapter 59 of the Montgomery County Code. This program regulates size, shape, height, and mass of a building and the uses that are allowed on the property.

  Fire Prevention and Code Compliance

The Fire Prevention and Fire Code Compliance program is responsible for ensuring public safety through enforcement of the National Fire Codes and Standards, the Montgomery County Fire Code, and Maryland State Fire Prevention Codes. This is accomplished through plans review, permit issuance and inspections of fire protection systems, and fire alarm systems for new construction. The program is also responsible for preventive inspections for existing occupied facilities within Montgomery County. This program issues Fire Code Compliance permits and operational permits for all businesses, schools, multi-family buildings, healthcare facilities, places of worship, and all other commercial buildings or occupancies. This program also responds to and investigates code violations through a complaints program.

Program Performance MeasuresActual
FY15
Actual
FY16
Estimated
FY17
Target
FY18
Target
FY19
Fire Protection (Sprinkler Permits) -- Average total time (In days)1514.7151515
Fire Protection (Sprinkler Permits) -- DPS average review time (in days)11.65.3121212
Budget Summary
TitleActual
FY16
Budget
FY17
Estimate
FY17
Approved
FY18
%Chg
Bud/App
PERMITTING SERVICES
EXPENDITURES
Salaries and Wages18182882.0020866345.00 21011152.00 21694489.004.0
Employee Benefits6758565.007408950.00 7433535.00 7488656.001.1
Permitting Services Personnel Costs24941447.0028275295.00 28444687.00 29183145.003.2
Operating Expenses8004169.009469297.00 8579146.00 9691684.002.4
Capital Outlay80145.000.00 0.00 0.000.0
Permitting Services Expenditures33025761.0037744592.00 37023833.00 38874829.003.0
PERSONNEL
Full-Time207.00236.00 236.00 236.000.0
Part-Time1.002.00 2.00 2.000.0
FTEs212.50243.65 243.65 243.750.0
REVENUES
Automation Enhancement Fee2086129.000.00 284907.00 120000.000.0
Building Permits22771835.0025665265.00 20293916.00 21889612.00-14.7
Electrical Permits and Licenses4446376.003997312.00 6199212.00 6199212.0055.1
Fire Code Enforcement Permits2010942.002847610.00 3458467.00 2501787.00-12.1
Grading/Storm Drains/Paving/Driveway Permits5529353.005811013.00 3472106.00 3663418.00-37.0
Investment Income148253.00211960.00 56419.00 153700.00-27.5
Mechanical Construction Permit1545158.001185045.00 1594515.00 1654421.0039.6
Miscellaneous Revenues7997.000.00 0.00 0.000.0
Occupancy Permits671574.00885252.00 544515.00 457678.00-48.3
Other Charges/Fees110933.00104484.00 4912.00 687311.00557.8
Other Fines/Forfeitures119547.00147464.00 133506.00 140485.00-4.7
Other Licenses/Permits309272.00880061.00 594672.00 737366.00-16.2
Sediment Control Permits3271965.003306018.00 3085222.00 3181283.00-3.8
Sign Permits153765.00140650.00 210458.00 184808.0031.4
Special Exception Fee207063.00322149.00 175530.00 212405.00-34.1
Stormwater Mgmt and Water Quality Plan Fee305333.00281443.00 257878.00 266777.00-5.2
Utility Permits0.001034616.00 0.00 0.00-100.0
Well and Septic335447.00299412.00 279140.00 57641.00-80.7
Permitting Services Revenues44030942.0047119754.00 40645375.00 42107904.00-10.6
 
GRANT FUND - MCG
EXPENDITURES
PERSONNEL
 
DEPARTMENT TOTALS
Total Expenditures33025761.0037744592.00 37023833.00 38874829.003.0
Total Full-Time Positions207.00236.00 236.00 236.000.0
Total Part-Time Positions1.002.00 2.00 2.000.0
Total FTEs212.50243.65 243.65 243.750.0
Total Revenues44030942.0047119754.00 40645375.00 42107904.00-10.6
FY18 Approved Changes
TitleExpendituresFTEs
PERMITTING SERVICES
FY17 ORIGINAL APPROPRIATION37744592243.65
Other Adjustments (with no service impacts)
Increase Cost: FY18 Compensation Adjustment6232970.00
Increase Cost: Office Rent [Administration]1763890.00
Increase Cost: Retiree Health Insurance Pre-Funding1579100.00
Increase Cost: Annualization of FY17 Compensation Increases1437950.00
Increase Cost: Risk Management Adjustment [Administration]1282360.00
Increase Cost: Motor Pool Adjustment987120.00
Increase Cost: Retirement Adjustment946250.00
Increase Cost: Annualization of FY17 Lapsed Positions790980.00
Technical Adj: Public Information Office (MC311) Chargeback [Residential Building Construction & Intake]00.10
Decrease Cost: Printing and Mail-113990.00
Decrease Cost: Annualization of FY17 Personnel Costs-329650.00
Decrease Cost: IT Replacement Plan [Administration]-1574610.00
Decrease Cost: Elimination of One-Time Items Approved in FY17-1700000.00
FY18 APPROVED38874829243.75
Program Summary
Program NameFY17 APPR
Expenditures
FY17 APPR
FTEs
FY18 APPR
Expenditures
FY18 APPR
FTEs
Land Development786431463.25831901264.25
Residential Building Construction & Intake488597442.80499473942.90
Commercial Building Construction483348140.50510049041.50
Administration1190694027.101216287829.10
Zoning and Site Plan Enforcement405967932.00423526732.00
Fire Prevention and Code Compliance419420438.00406244334.00
Total37744592243.6538874829243.75
Future Fiscal Impacts ($000s)
TitleFY18FY19FY20FY21FY22FY23
PERMITTING SERVICES
EXPENDITURES
FY18 Approved38875.00000038875.00000038875.00000038875.00000038875.00000038875.000000
No inflation or compensation change is included in outyear projections.
IT Maintenance Costs0.000000127.00000052.00000010.0000002.00000055.000000
Represents additional maintenance costs for the system upgrades and post-warranty maintenance for servers, scanners, and printers.
IT Replacement Plan0.000000319.000000169.000000-282.000000-282.000000319.000000
Key components of Permitting Service's technology replacement plan include: FY19 Printers $60,000, Servers $600,000; FY20 Permit DB Servers - Hardware & Software $450,000; FY23 Printers $60,000, Servers $600,000
Office Rent0.000000141.0000000.0000000.0000000.0000000.000000
Represents projected rent increase.
Retiree Health Insurance Pre-funding0.0000005.00000018.00000022.00000027.00000027.000000
Labor Contracts0.000000211.000000211.000000211.000000211.000000211.000000
These figures represent the estimated annualized cost of general wage adjustments, service increments, and other negotiated items.
Operating Budget Impacts0.0000000.000000199.000000-1363.000000-1439.000000-1533.000000
Operating budget impacts from the new Wheaton headquarters include lease savings, debt service, maintenance, energy, and parking.
Subtotal Expenditures38875.00000039678.00000039524.00000037473.00000037394.00000037954.000000