DPS Launches New Website with Streamlined Access for Customers

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For Immediate Release: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019

DPS Launches New Website with Streamlined Access for Customers

The Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) has a new website, that provides clear, easy, and quick access to information and online services.  The new design provides quicker access for a range of services from applying for permits to tracking construction activities.

By visiting the new website,  www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dps/,  customers can clearly see what is required to obtain permits and approvals.  The website features a user-friendly process guide that serves as a roadmap for every step of the permit application through inspections.  To assist customers, each step is clearly described with links for information, forms, and online services. 

“This website puts businesses and residents first; and that’s the takeaway we want for customers doing business in, and with, Montgomery County,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.

The front page of the website includes a “how can we help you?” search bar and a queue of hot topics including, making a payment; checking the status of a permit; uploading eplans; requesting inspections; requesting records; requesting a design consultation; searching for data; and making a property complaint.

DPS Director Diane Jones said the new website is designed to improve the public’s interaction with the County and to make it easier for DPS to better serve its clients – the residents and businesses of Montgomery County.

“Improving customer service is a continuum, and we are committed to continuing improvements with the input and support of our customers,” said Jones, who also touted the tireless work of her DPS staff, the Department of Technology Services and the website designer, Paul Compton.

Before seeking permits, a first determination for any project is knowing if the proposed property is suitable for the intended use.  Customers will save time and money by first determining the usability of a proposed site by visiting the link  “before you lease or buy.”  This link is a resource for customers to find information about the prospective property before investing.

Also, DPS offers free design consultations and encourages applicants to take advantage of this service before applying so that applicants come in with a complete, well-prepared submission.  DPS also offers facilitated services through its Recipes for Success Program and Case Management. 

The website provides a variety of pathways to find information.  Customers can use a word search to find what they want, or access helpful information based on user type – homeowners, professionals, or businesses.  For a comprehensive list of permits, see the “mega menu” under the “Permits” tab.

The new DPS website also includes a page that tracks commercial construction activity that impacts County roads.  Information can be displayed in either map or satellite view and includes open DPS permits for commercial building, commercial demolition, and the County right of way. Data is updated nightly.  State roads and Department of Transportation projects are not shown because they do not obtain DPS permits and are not in the dataset. The construction activity map is a “pilot” map developed by Data Montgomery and DPS to enable the public and agencies to visualize certain open commercial construction activity permits in a community.  

Multiple focus groups were involved in the development of the new DPS website to help define customer needs. It took more than a year to develop with user focus groups reviewing the work throughout the site’s development.  Improvements for customers is a priority and a continuing effort of DPS.  Customers are encouraged to utilize the customer feedback link to let the DPS know how it is doing and how it can improve. 

“I find the new DPS website intuitive and easy to navigate, which will be a great help to my small and large business clients and the public generally,” said Timothy Dugan, a land-use attorney at Shulman Rogers and member of the DPS Advisory Board. “The website is one of the most user-friendly sites that I have had the opportunity to use.”   

Jeffrey Amateau, director of engineering for VIKA, agrees, observing that it is “way better, organized, and easy to navigate.” 

Sylke Knuppel, P.E. and project manager with VIKA, also noted its responsive design. “It is user friendly – I tested it from my smart phone and laptop to see the different user interfaces,” she said.

This is the latest in customer service improvements initiated by the DPS.  Previous improvements include rate restructuring with fee reductions; process changes that have shaved weeks and months off permit reviews; introduction of electronic services which improve efficiency and are better for the environment; and improved financial accountability by creation of a fee payment office with oversight.

For more information, visit the DPS website.

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Media contact:  Jessica Fusillo, DPS, 240-777-6272