Prince George's County is cracking down on code enforcement as it splits up its massive Department of Environmental Resources, which handles everything from foreclosures to feral cats.
The new Department of Permits, Inspections and Enforcement will deal with property issues like inspections and foreclosures, while the Department of Environmental Resources will remain focused on environmental issues and sustainability.
"This is a huge step in how we become more business-friendly," said Carla Reid, the county's deputy chief administrator for economic development and public infrastructure. "We want it to be more simple to do business with us. Right now, we probably get an A+ in complexity."
Officials said the new department, which will take over the current department building's first floor, will streamline the permitting process for homeowners and some businesses.
That planned efficiency also applies to penalties. Adam Ortiz, acting director of the current department, said a $15 parking ticket he received in Annapolis recently symbolized the mind-set he wants the new department to take -- a move away from a lenient policy that gave property owners lots of time to get up to county standards.
"That is the type of model that we have to take to code enforcement," Ortiz said. "We want to hold people accountable."
The new department will begin operations in July. - Matt Connolly