On August 1, 1996, County Executive Douglas Duncan signed into law a bill creating the Department of Permitting Services (DPS). The mission of DPS is to provide the highest quality of public service while insuring compliance with Montgomery County development and construction standards.
Simply put, anyone who wants to develop land or build something on it in the County has to obtain a permit from DPS to do so. In essence, DPS enforces standards that control what goes on before, during and after construction. Also, zoning matters, such as whether or not a business activity is being conducted in a residential area, whether or not someone has built something too close to a property line, or whether or not someone may sell flowers in a public street are regulated by DPS. DPS does not get involved in disputes between business owners and their customers, between tenants and landlords, or between homeowners and their neighborhood associations. Other County departments may be of assistance in matters like these.
Some of the specific services provided by DPS can be found at HERE. DPS is a coordinating agency for approvals from other agencies (such as Fire and Rescue, WSSC, MNCPPC, State Highway Administration) for permits that we issue.
DPS consists of the Office of the Director and three Divisions. The organization chart is located at HERE.
The Customer Service Division is responsible for ensuring that customer service and satisfaction is measured and successfully achieved through communication and outreach to the public. The division is responsible for the intake of complaints and processing information. The division proactively educates residents and the development community about the permitting process by maintaining and improving the DPS web site, publishing the DPS newsletter, coordinating outreach events, organizing educational seminars for residents, civic organizations and professionals and providing information to applicants via telephone regarding the intake and issuance of permits. The division is also responsible for facilitating “green tape” projects such as affordable housing projects and those in the Silver Spring, Wheaton, and Long Branch enterprise zones by working with other DPS team members to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, an expedited, seamless permitting and inspection process. The division is responsible for developing customer service surveys for the department, analyzing the results, reporting findings, and recommending a course of action for improvement.
The Building Construction Division is responsible for ensuring public safety through the effective enforcement of construction and zoning 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, energy conservation, and accessibility codes and standards. In addition, the division is charged with the plan review and inspection of Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission site plans and enforcement of the County’s Zoning Ordinance. Zoning enforcement is carried out by reviewing building applications for zoning compliance and investigating zoning complaints. This division is also responsible for conducting damage assessments during natural and other disasters and incidents and provides assistance in disaster recovery efforts.
The Land Development Division is responsible for ensuring the protection of the County’s water resources and the safety of residents through its engineering and inspection functions related to storm water management, sediment control, floodplain management, well-and-septic systems approval, storm drain design, and work in the public right-of-way.