Under Construction Newsletter, November 2022

DPIE Under Construction masthead with Permitting, Plan Review, Licensing, Inspections and Enforcement visuals, and DPIE logo

November 2022

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Message from the Director

DPIE Director Melinda Bolling

As we move closer to the holidays, many of us are looking forward to opening our homes to family and friends from whom we have been separated because of COVID. As we welcome them back, let’s be mindful of ensuring that our properties are safe and secure. Remember to fry your turkeys outside on a paved surface to prevent fires. Make sure your electric heaters are operating appropriately and are placed away from anything that can ignite. Consider battery-operated candles. Our colleagues in the fire service urge us to change our smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries when we adjust our clocks for Daylight Savings Time (DST).

Operating illegal businesses out of your home can put your loved ones at risk. Preparing meals on stoves not equipped to operate on a commercial basis can pose a carbon monoxide or fire risk. Running a nail salon at home exposes your family to noxious fumes in an environment not conducive to adequate ventilation. Selling products out of your home may lead to unwanted return visits by ne’er-do-wells. Home-based businesses are regulated by County Code to ensure they don’t introduce danger into your household. Please comply for the sake of those you love.

Taking a few steps at the beginning of each holiday season will ensure that you and yours enjoy this wondrous time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

DPIE Director Melinda Bollings signature block

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Third-Thursday Community Information Sessions

Coming November 17:  

Third-Thursday Investigating Zoning Violations, pics of ground mounted sign, home businesses of car repair and foodspacer bar between articles, no image, no textspacer bar between articles, no image, no text

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DPIE Collaborates with Building Professionals to Foster Development

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DPIE works closely with the local building industry — builders, land developers, zoning attorneys and consultants — to educate them about agency policies and procedures related to permitting and plan development. At a virtual meeting on November 4, DPIE Deputy Director Dawit Abraham shared agency initiatives with members of the Maryland Building Industry Association (MBIA), an organization comprised of residential and remodeling industry professionals in Maryland.

DPIE created the Preliminary Design Review Meeting (PDRM), which allows requesters, applicants and/or architects/engineers to meet with the agency's Building Plan Review Division to discuss code-related design items in reference to building/structural, electrical, mechanical, fire & life safety, health and ADA accessibility. There is a $825 + 5% technology fee associated with all PDRM. Items discussed during the meeting do not constitute a plan review or approval. Plans are reviewed for compliance when submitted. For more information, visit the PDRM website page. 

The Mega Projects Suite assists commercial property owners, designers, developers and contractors through the Case Management Program (CMP). Owners planning to construct projects that meet the minimum requirements can request that their project be included under the CMP, which serves as a liaison and point of contact between DPIE and the customer; reviews, researches and summarizes project issues; schedules and facilitates pre-design consultation meetings between DPIE and the client; and more.

"DPIE's goal in working with building industry customers is to make their experience as convenient and seamless as possible as they move through the permitting process," Abraham said.

Recently, the agency published a booklet on the permitting process for development. The booklet, The DPIE Development Permitting Process, is posted on DPIE's website. For more information, contact Public Information Officer Avis Thomas-Lester at athomaslester@co.pg.md.us or 240-508-9723.

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DPIE Connect Offers Mini Preliminary Design Review Meetings for Small Businesses

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DPIE is encouraging small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to participate in our DPIE Connect program. DPIE Connect brings agency experts together with entrepreneurs aspiring to open businesses in one-hour Mini Preliminary Design Review meetings (PDRM). Staff from DPIE’s Permitting and Licensing Division, Building Plan Review Division, Inspections Division, and Business Development Section (BDS) participate. Topics of discussion include application requirements, permits, licenses, inspections, fees, and plan review code-related questions covering building/structural, electrical, mechanical, fire and life safety, health and ADA accessibility.

The scope of projects applicable for DPIE Connect include:

1. Projects requesting straight U&O — no construction
2. Projects with change of occupancy — no construction
3. Projects with interior alterations not exceeding 3,000 sq. ft. in area
4. Projects not more than one story in height

For more information, contact DPIEconnect@co.pg.md.us.

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The Family that Works at DPIE Together Stays Together

It’s mid-morning on a sunny Saturday and DPIE Inspector David McLaurin is directing residents into a DPW&T lot in Beltsville to drop off discarded household items as part of a community cleanup. Nearby, his colleague, Inspector Nathaniel Hall, is unloading construction materials from a resident’s car.

McLaurin, who started working for the County in 2011 and joined the DPIE team at the agency’s inception in 2013, and Hall, who came on board two years ago, frequently collaborate as members of the Enforcement Division’s Single-Family Housing Unit. They are also brothers, two sets of siblings who are currently assigned to Enforcement. Inspector Gabriel Bejarano, a supervisor in Single-Family who is also a DPIE original staffer who has been with the County since 2012, and Zoning Unit Inspector Oscar Bejarano, who joined the staff in 2020, are the other brother team.  

“These are all great guys – committed professionals who are diligent about doing their jobs serving the citizens of Prince George’s County,” said Enforcement Division Associate Director Val Cary. “Being siblings is helpful because the brothers with the most experience can offer guidance, and the brothers who came to DPIE most recently have someone experienced to answer their questions during off hours.”

The brothers said working together was a blessing during COVID-19 social distancing. “We worked every day, so we got to see each other many days,” McLaurin said.

The two sets of brothers grew up in Prince George’s County – the Bejaranos in Langley Park and McLaurin and Hall in Landover. McLaurin, 12 years Hall’s senior, proudly describes himself as a doting big brother, while the Bejaranos, at 18 months apart, have been besties forever.

spacer bar between articles, no image, no textMcLaurin brothers at work, pics of public outreach event and in front of a trash truck

Left: Inspector David McLaurin shares information with District 5 County Council Member Jolene Ivey and Outreach Coordinator Donny Arrington at the DoE Green Summit in Landover. Right: Nathaniel Hall assists with a DPW&T community cleanup.

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“My first memories of my brother were of him making me laugh. He made up this song, “Frosty the Snow Man sat on the heater. He melted his butt and now he ain’t got one!” Hall said, laughing at the memory. “He never could finish the lyrics because I’d be laughing so hard!”

McLaurin remembers his younger brother, who spent time on It’s Academic, the televised student quiz show travel squad and chess teams at Suitland High School, shocking his family when he read the TV Guide to them as a toddler.

“He used to read me stories like Dr. Seuss when he was like 4 and I was a teenager,” McLaurin said. “Then he would give me the book and I’d read to him. He loved Popeye. I’d tell him that he’d be big and strong if he ate his spinach like Popeye.”

When McLaurin was in his early 20s, he moved to New York City. He earned a degree in computer technology at Manhattan Community College and worked at a transitional facility for homeless women and their children. Hall spent the summer with him there when he was 12.

McLaurin taught Hall to take the train from his apartment in the Bronx to Manhattan. He let him frequently visit work to play with the children at the facility. “I would explore the city of New York. He gave me a sense of freedom I never had before at home,” Hall said.

McLaurin brothers at work, conferring with coworkers and exchanging a moment of brother bonding.

Left: Inspectors Sofia Orosco-Guzman and Lisa Coleman-Tate discuss a code violation case with brothers David McLaurin and Nathaniel Hall. Right: Inspectors McLaurin and Hall chat during a recent operation.

spacer bar between articles, no image, no textBejarano brothers on the jobs for DPIE

Left: Inspector Gabriel Bejarano inspects a garage. Right: Oscar Bejarano discusses a complaint with Zoning Supervisor Brandon Wright and a citizen at a Camp Springs Civic Association meeting.

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Growing up, the Bejarano brothers experienced many childhood milestones together, such as learning to ride a bike by plunging down a tall hill near their home. “We didn’t have helmets and all that. We just got on the bike and rode down the hill and held on!” Oscar Bejarano said. “We weren’t involved in a lot of organized activities. With us, it was about just being outside, playing and having fun.”

Two of five children, the Bejaranos, like McLaurin and Hall, hail from close families. Their father, a U.S. citizen, moved the family to Maryland from Honduras when Gabe was 7 and Oscar was 9. Oscar Bejarano grew up the jokester while his brother was more serious.  

Hall and Oscar Bejarano credited their brothers with helping to instill hard work as one of their ethics. Hall recalls McLaurin trying to attend his school programs while working two and three jobs as a young man. When Gabe Bejarano got a job as a lifeguard on a work permit, the community pool became the summer headquarters for their group. Oscar Bejarano said he was able to overcome some issues as a student to graduate with his brother from High Point High School in 2002.

Oscar Bejarano was a security guard when his brother put the bug in his ear to consider working for the County in 2020. The Bejaranos worked together in Zoning until recently when Gabe was promoted to supervisor in Single-Family. Gabe was honored for excellence by the County in 2020 during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hall was working for the MVA when McLaurin suggested he think about joining the DPIE team two years ago, as well. Nowadays, the veteran DPIE inspectors help their siblings to navigate the job.

“As the big brother, I have concerns about his safety and welfare,” McLaurin said of Hall. “At DPIE, I know he’s got a great career, he’s doing good work helping the citizens of Prince George’s County, and he’s working with good people. I’m glad we are able to share that.”

Bejarano brothers working in the office.

The Bejarano brothers prepare for a virtual hearing.

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DPIE on the Job

Two DPIE employees, Ron and Ivy, at work for the agency.

Left: Inspector Ron Waters of the Enforcement Division reviews records prior to an inspection of a senior facility in Landover. Right: Administrative Aide Ivy Sharp checks paperwork inside the Permit Center while assisting customers.

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Notice: Clarifying the Definition of “Raze”

A new DPIE bulletin clarifies the definition of "Raze" as it pertains to a structure and defines the terms "Interior Demolition" and "Partial Demolition." To view the original document, visit Raze Bulletin on DPIE's website.

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County Virtual Snow Summit Set for November 30

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In Case You Missed It. . .

spacer bar between articles, no image, no textUnderstanding the Residential Infill Permit Processspacer bar between articles, no image, no text

Our October 20 Third-Thursday Community Information Session presented information to help property owners in existing neighborhoods and aspiring owners to obtain their Residential Infill Permits. Access the PowerPoint presentation, entitled "Understanding the Residential Infill Permit Process," by clicking the link or the above cover slide.

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Name That Violation Contest!

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DPIE is holding a monthly contest where we share a photo that contains a property violation of Prince George's County Code. The first person to respond with the correct answer will win one of DPIE's large (13"x10"x15") insulated grocery tote bags with a zipper closure, and your name in next month's Under Construction newsletter.*

*DPIE employees and their family members are not eligible to enter in this promotion.

Carefully study QUIZ PHOTO # 11 below and "Name that Violation" by emailing your best guess to DPIEpio@co.pg.md.us.

spacer bar between articles, no image, no textQuiz question number 11 - house with disheveled back yard
New Name that Violation Quiz Question number 10

DPIE Congratulates

Sharon Smith-Johnson

for correctly identifying the violation
in photo number 10 (shown at right)
in last month's issue of Under Construction.

The answer is shown in the image below.

(DPIE added the ordinance from County Code.)

Quiz answer to question number 10 - Swimming Pools

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New Hires

DPIE welcomes the following new hires and congratulates them on joining the team!  The new staffers have shared some information to help us get to know them and their start dates.

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Ashley Staten

Ashley Staten, Enforcement Division — Property Standards Inspector, 10/11/2022

Ashley is eager to ensure Prince George's County is beautiful and safe for all residents and visitors.

Moneisha Grade

Moneisha Grade, Permitting and Licensing Division —Administrative Aide, 10/11/2022

Moneisha recently relocated to Prince George’s County from Baltimore. She has two daughters, ages 3 and 7, who are her best friends!


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Employee of the Month

Giavonya Jones, employee of the month

DPIE Congratulates Gia Jones
Employee of the Month
November 2022

We are very pleased to announce that this month’s Employee of the Month is Administrative Aide IV Giavonya Jones of the Enforcement Division. Giavonya is being recognized for her kindness, leadership, and support for others.

Ms. Jones has freely shared her knowledge and is always happy to assist colleagues for a smooth operation in the division. Giavonya encourages others to demonstrate confidence to conquer challenging task. With Giavonya’ s positive attitude and ability to implement solutions, new hires onboarding process has been a pleasure.  Ms. Jones’s sincere kindness and support does not go unrecognized.

DPIE celebrates Gia for her excellent performance!

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Celebrating the Rich Culture and Contributions of the First Americans

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DPIE Offers Sincere Thanks to Our Nation's Veterans

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May You and Yours Thrive and Prosper in Good Health and Happiness as We Honor the Contributions of the First Americans

Happy Thanksgiving words superimposed over an array of gourds and pumpkins in orange and blue