DPIE's Building Blocks Newsletter, June 2021

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June 2021

 In this issue:

Business Spotlight

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Cuppa Tea Opens in College Park

Cuppa Tea at 8700 Baltimore Avenue, College Park, serves a variety of teas and snacks in a tranquil environment.

As the County transitions to a post-COVID-19 economic recovery, the Business Development Section (BDS) is here to assist entrepreneurs as they navigate the permitting, licensing and inspections processes. The BDS recently worked with Cuppa Tea to open its doors. Cuppa Tea serves Hong Kong-style milk tea brewed with top-quality leaves and served with popular Hong Kong snacks. Cuppa Tea’s most popular drink, the Signature Milk Tea, is put through a special technique to bring out the richness of the tea flavor. Customers may also order bubble tea, egg waffles, curry fish balls and an assortment of desserts.

Cuppa Tea is located close to the University of Maryland on Baltimore Avenue and owner Juli Li has created a cozy café environment conducive to studying and reading for her tea-drinking customers. “We are very excited to serve the College Park student community. I chose this location to provide a variety of drinks and snacks for students and to introduce the milk tea industry to the surrounding community,” Li said. Customers may order Cuppa Tea from the Clover App, here.

The Inside Scoop

Sample Zoning Map for a central area of Prince Georges County

The Importance of Zoning

What is zoning and why is it important? Zoning refers to the municipal regulations that determine how land can and cannot be used. Zoning promotes quality of life, privacy and safety for residents. It is significant as it ensures an area is developed in the most suitable and efficient manner and that the character and composition of a community reflects the desires and priorities of its residents.

Zoning helps to protect residential property values, as the ordinance limits commercial, industrial and other nuisance uses from being constructed in residential neighborhoods. It also establishes height limitations, minimum building setbacks and other development standards. These standards prevent buildings from being constructed too close to a neighboring property and fences from being erected so tall that they overshadow adjacent structures and averts the limiting of sight distances. Without zoning laws, property owners could also be left without recourse for violations to their property. In addition, zoning helps make land attractive to developers. Developers prefer to locate projects in areas where they have some certainty that the community will accept the project and that the project is compatible with uses permitted in and around the zone.

Zoning review is an important part of the DPIE permit approval process. The zoning review is performed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), which is commonly referred to as Park & Planning. In addition to the zoned/permitted use, M-NCPPC reviews the allowable lot coverage for property, which indicates the amount of land area and the location of a structure on a parcel. It is recommended that businesses obtain a letter of use determination before signing a lease or buying property. This can be done by contacting the M-NCPPC Information Services team by submitting the online request form. The form can be found on the Planning Information Services page of the M-NCPPC website.

Prince George’s County adopted a new zoning ordinance in 2018. The ordinance developed novel and modern zones along with subdivision regulations to assist in the facilitation of the General Plan (2035) and other initiatives. The County is performing a countywide map amendment to depict the new zones, as every parcel of land in the County is given a zone. For more information visit the zoning code rewrite.

Helpful Hints

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Don't let your permit expire with pictures of stop watches all over the icon

Obtaining Permit Extensions

A permit must be issued within two years of the application date, or it becomes null and void. Once the permit is issued, work must begin within six months. Construction inspections are required a minimum of every six months to keep the permit valid. The only exceptions are grading permits, which expire five years after issuance. Requests for extensions must be submitted within 30 days of expiration of the permit. Up to two six-month extensions may be granted.

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Checking Municipal Requirements

Before applying for a permit, an applicant should always check the municipal requirements. Although an applicant may have a permit from DPIE, the applicant may need to obtain a business license or other permits from the local municipality prior to opening a business.  See the Municipal Inspections and Enforcement Chart for a breakdown of municipalities within Prince George’s County.

Prince Georges County logo representing municipalities
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What's Happening?

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Business Development Section

Drawing of 5 heads overlapping and intersecting with ideas, lightbulb, puzzle, headset and words Webinar


Over the last year, the BDS has conducted several webinars and prepared PowerPoint presentations for the business community on a variety of DPIE processes. These include Building and Use and Occupancy Permits, Inspections, Special Events and Business Licensing, and more. Customers may access the BDS presentations here.


Economic Development

Prince George's County 2021 Grand Slam PowerPoint cover of county landscape drawing

Angie Rodgers, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Economic Development, shared her Prince George's County 2021 Grand Slam PowerPoint presentation on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. The presentation included information on land disposition, funding and partnership opportunities, as well as a short overview of Economic Development and other agencies, including DPIE. DPIE Director Melinda Bolling presented the PowerPoint in one of the breakout rooms. If you missed the presentation, you may view the 2021 Grand Slam PowerPoint here.

Funding Opportunities

BGE that's smart energy, Alice helloalice.com, and Global Entrepreneurship logos – companies collaborate to offer small business grants

BGE Energizing Small Business Grant

BGE, in partnership with Hello Alice and Global Entrepreneurship Network, has pledged $15 million for Maryland small businesses to assist with COVID-19 relief and recovery. Eligible businesses must be in BGE’s service area in order to apply for the $20,000 grant. For more information, visit bgehelloalice.

Maryland Financial Incentives for Businesses

A variety of financial programs are available from the State, including grants, loans and other funds for job creation, agriculture, small businesses and veteran-owned businesses. For more information, visit the Maryland Financial Incentives for Business website.

Maryland Financial Incentives for Business
Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund, words on green background

Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund

The Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sponsors an Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund for expansion of the County’s commercial tax base, job retention and attraction, support for small and local businesses, promotion of development and redevelopment opportunities, as well as transit-oriented development. For more information, visit the Economic Development Corporation website.

PFC Black Chamber Open Door Fund

The People for Change Coalition (PFC) Black Chamber has announced the COVID-19 Open-Door Fund, which provides grants to small businesses in Prince George’s County.  The fund provides between $1,000 to $3,000 on a rolling basis to businesses that have been established since 2019.  Click the Open Door Fund link for details.

People for Change Coalition, words with hands in air
digital chips with word Technology in white

Rural and Underserved Business Recovery from Impact of COVID-19 (RUBRIC)

The RUBRIC program provides economic relief to rural and economically-disadvantaged businesses. The program focuses on recently-opened tech companies that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, click State Emergency Funding Administered by TEDCO.

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Community Feedback

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Business Community News

DPIE's Free ePlan Training for September adEconomic Development Corporation ad for how COVID-19 affects small businesses videoSmall Business Development Center - Maryland adPrince George's County Chamber of Commerce August meetingswhite space bar

contact us

County, Prince George's Proud and DPIE logos, plus DPIE address, phone and email