In­side your county govern­ment

A ‘How-to’ guide for busi­ness build­ings and spa­ces

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Busi­nesses pro­vide our com­mu­nity with es­sen­tial goods and ser­vices. In Charles County, busi­nesses pos­i­tively im­pact more than 154,000 res­i­dents. If you want to open a busi­ness in Charles County, the De­part­ment of Growth Man­age­ment’s Per­mits counter is a great place to start.

The first step is to de­ter­mine if your busi­ness will be lo­cated in an ex­ist­ing build­ing or if you re­quire a newly con­structed space. If you are mov­ing into an ex­ist­ing build­ing, you can use the ex­pe­dited Green Card process. You will need to com­plete the Build­ing Per­mit, Waste­water Dis­charge Per­mit, and Cross Con­nec­tion Con­trol Per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions. Bring com­pleted forms and re­quired fees to the Per­mits counter, lo­cated in the Charles County Govern­ment Build­ing (200 Bal­ti­more Street, La Plata).

If you are con­struct­ing a new build­ing or al­ter­ing a cur­rent one, an im­por­tant step is to hire a con­trac­tor. Make sure your con­trac­tor has com­mer­cial con­tract­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, proper li­censes, and can com­plete the work in a timely, cost-ef­fec­tive man­ner.

If you are al­ter­ing an ex­ist­ing com­mer­cial space, use the Com­mer­cial Al­ter­ations process. For the Com­mer­cial Al­ter­ations process, you must com­plete the re­quired build­ing per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions. You will be re­quired to pro­vide ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ings and engi­neer­ing de­signs. Keep in mind a per­mit must be ob­tained prior to be­gin­ning plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal, or me­chan­i­cal work. You can find the com­plete list of re­quired forms on­line at: www. Charles-County-MD.gov/PGM/ CPIS/Per­mits.

If you are in­ter­ested in run­ning a busi­ness from your home, check zon­ing reg­u­la­tions to en­sure the busi­ness and its lo­ca­tion are com­pli­ant. For zon­ing reg­u­la­tions, visit www.Charles-County-MD.gov/sites/ de­fault/files/pgm/plan­ning/home­oc­cprmt.pdf.

Busi­nesses in­volv­ing food sales need to ob­tain a food ser­vice li­cense. This in­cludes restau­rants, hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes, in­sti­tu­tions, gro­cery stores, carry-out lo­ca­tions, cater­ers, mo­bile units, gas sta­tions, liquor stores, schools, and bed and break­fasts. Food ser­vice li­censes are pro­vided by the Charles County De­part­ment of Health. More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at www.Charles-County-Health.org or by call­ing 301-609-6900.

When you are ready to open to the pub­lic, you may want to an­nounce your busi­ness’ ar­rival with a new sign. A sign per­mit is needed for wall-mounted or free-stand­ing signs. This serves as a safety mea­sure for you, em­ploy­ees, and cus­tomers by avoid­ing a fall­ing, un­sta­ble sign. Learn more about sign per­mits by vis­it­ing www.Charles-Coun­tyMD.gov/PGM/CPIS/Per­mits.

Once you re­ceive your per­mits, an in­spec­tion will be sched­uled by your con­trac­tor with the county’s in­spec­tion ser­vice. The in­spec­tion en­sures build­ing plans fol­low the county’s codes prior to oc­cu­pancy and dur­ing con­struc­tion.

Visit www.Charle­sCoun­tyMD.gov for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on the per­mits process. Click on “FAQ” (Fre­quently Asked Ques­tions), and scroll to the De­part­ment of Plan­ning and Growth Man­age­ment. Or click the down ar­row in the “How do I…?” box then click “Ap­ply for a Per­mit.” If you have ques­tions, call the Codes, Per­mits, and In­spec­tions Divi­sion at 301-645-0692, or visit the Per­mits counter in the Charles County Govern­ment Build­ing (200 Bal­ti­more Street, La Plata). We look for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing your grand open­ing.

Peter Alu­otto is the Charles County di­rec­tor of plan­ning and growth man­age­ment.

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