Under Construction Newsletter, December 2022

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

December 2022

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Message from the Director

DPIE Director Melinda Bolling

As the year winds down, I have challenged my staff to create more innovative ways to address your concerns in 2023. The Enforcement Division responded early with "Operation Focused Enforcement," which was conceived in response to complaints from frustrated residents about habitual code violations in their communities. In most neighborhoods, owners and renters are mindful of the importance of property upkeep and code compliance. Sometimes, however, we need to take action in response to problems. Please continue to report property maintenance complaints to PGC311. We will continue to add neighborhoods to this special enforcement effort.

Here's hoping that you and yours enjoy a safe, festive and fun holiday season!

DPIE Director Melinda Bollings signature block

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Third-Thursday Community Information Sessions

Coming December 15:  

Third-Thursday Session Virtual Open Forum II flyer - images of DPIE building and Enforcement code violationswhite spacespacer bar between articles, no image, no text

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Twitter symbol of DPIE logo cut into circle

Visit us at http://DPIE.mypgc.us.
Follow us on Twitter@PGCountyDPIE and Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement - Facebook.

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"Operation Focused Enforcement" Addresses Violations in Communities

Inspectors Work with Residents to Identify and Abate Issues

Traffic cones littered local streets. Chickens clucked and strutted around yards. Debris littered lots. Residents operated illegal rentals and businesses, flagrantly violating County Code.

Enter DPIE inspectors working on Operation Focused Enforcement, a special program instituted by DPIE Director Melinda Bolling to focus on specific communities to bring problem properties into compliance. Under the program, inspectors from the Enforcement Division’s Single-Family Housing and Zoning units work with residents and community organizations to identify properties with violations, conduct inspections and take appropriate action to bring the properties into compliance.

“Residents who maintain their properties appropriately were frustrated, so we needed a more targeted approach to abate issues in certain communities,” said Director Bolling, who created the program as part of DPIE’s enhanced customer service initiative.

“The effort has been well received. This is another tool in our effort to gain widescale compliance on behalf of residents who don’t want their neighborhoods negatively impacted by rampant violations.”

2 Enforcement inspectors walk down the sidewalk of a designated area of Operation Focus Enforcement to address code violations

Enforcement inspectors fan out in a Lewisdale neighborhood to look for code violations.

Operation Focused Enforcement is currently underway in three areas: several neighborhoods in Lanham–Seabrook; the Lewisdale community, in Hyattsville; and along a commercial stretch of Marlboro Pike in Capitol Heights, District Heights and Forestville to address violations at convenience, tobacco and liquor stores, gas stations and other business establishments.   

The first phase of Operation Focused Enforcement sends inspectors into areas to conduct surveys of code violations and establish abatement action plans. They return to issue violation notices and/or citations. The violation notices give property owners time to address them before a reinspection. Citations can also be issued that carry fines of $150 – $1,000. Egregious cases may be referred to District Court.

Lanham Cleanup showing shoveling, carry branches, and untagged car

(Left and center) Contract workers clear debris from a property during an Operation Focused Enforcement lot clean in Lanham. (Right) Inspector Nathaniel Hall investigates an unlicensed vehicle on the Lanham property.

spacer bar between articles, no image, no textOperation Focused Enforcement, photos of inspectors canvassing neighborhoods.

(Clockwise) Inspectors Ellington Adams, Jr. and Sergio Velasco talk to a homeowner in Lewisdale during the October 31 survey operation. Adams and Inspector Ashley Staten photograph a property after noting code violations. IInspector Sergio Velasco and Inspector David McLaurin discuss code violations with a property owner. Inspector Adams and Code Enforcement Officer Ronnie Twine canvas the target area. DPW&T workers remove cones illegally placed on the street as part of the operation. A property owner was cited for old furniture littering a back yard. Twine removes a cone while canvassing in Lewisdale.

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Code Enforcement Inspector Nathaniel Hall explains canvassing communities to clean up neighborhoods.

On a rainy day in late October, a team of Single-Family and Zoning inspectors, accompanied by DPIE Deputy Director LaMont Hinton and Enforcement Division Associate Director Val Cary converged on an area of Lewisdale near 23rd Place and Amherst Road. Director Bolling stopped by to discuss the operation with the team.

The team walked an area of roughly two square miles engaging residents in both English and Spanish about code violations. Approximately 150 DPIE “Survey Notification” door hangers were placed at homes with violations including tall grass and weeds, open storage, unlicensed vehicles and trash. The team also witnessed unlicensed rental properties, illegal restaurants and auto repair shops operating in homes. DPIE inspectors returned to the community later to issue violation notices and citations.

In Lanham, in another Operation Focused Enforcement effort, inspectors have held bi-weekly meetings with a group of community leaders to address violations. In response to their complaints, inspectors have conducted surveys and issued violation notices and citations to several property owners. A property in Lanham was cleaned.

Business owners along Marlboro Pike operating in violation of their Use and Occupancy Permit requirements and violating property maintenance standards have also been taken to task. Additional areas will be added to the program next year.

Single-Family Unit Inspector Nathaniel Hall (above right with sign) explains surveying neighborhoods to identify code violations. Watch Canvassing communities to clean up neighborhoods.

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DPIE on the Job

PIO Avis Thomas-Lester responds to questions at Co. Bilingual Job and Resources Fair; Patricia confers with Renee Palacios

Left: Public Information Officer Avis Thomas-Lester responds to questions about DPIE at the County Bilingual Job and Resources Fair Nov. 12 at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville. Right: Senior Inspector Patricia Pugh-Rooks confers with Code Enforcement Officer Renee Jenkins-Palacios on a rental license investigation.

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Special Event Exclusions for Parades, Bike Rides, Walks, Community Meetings and Potlucks

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Effective November 1, 2022, DPIE no longer requires a Temporary Use Special Event Permit for parades, bike rides and walks if the event has no tents, stages, inflatables, generators, ticket sales, food trucks, or drinks or food prepared onsite. Distribution must be limited to prepackaged food and drinks.  

A Temporary Use Special Event Permit is also not required for community meetings and potlucks with 50 or fewer attendees as long as the same exclusions mentioned above apply.

Prince George’s County approval is still required, however. Applicants must contact the Special Events Coordinator for review by DPW&T for road closures. The Police Department must be contacted to direct and/or control traffic for the events described above. 

Use the link below to complete the Special Events Coordinating Group Application:
PSSECG Special Event Application

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In Case You Missed It. . .

Third Thursday session The Business of Investigating Zoning Violations cover slide of 3 violation samples

Our November 17 Third-Thursday Community Information Session presented information to help residents recognize zoning violations and understand the process of investigating complaints. Access the PowerPoint presentation, entitled "The Business of Investigating Zoning Violations," by clicking the link or the above cover slide.

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Holiday Safety Tips

Non-breakable ornaments for child decorating tree

As we prepare to gather with family and friends, the National Safety Council (NSC) offers the following safety tips from several agencies:

● The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends keeping poisonous plants, such as mistletoe and holly berries, away from children.

● Make sure your artificial tree is “fire resistant” and kept 3 feet away from heat sources.

● Keep breakable ornaments and those with small parts out of reach of children.

● Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors.

● Always choose the right ladder for hanging lights and performing other tasks.

● Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

● Place candles where they cannot be knocked down and out of reach of children. Use flameless candles when possible.

● Use screens on fireplaces at all times when a fire is burning.

● Never leave candles or fireplaces burning unattended.

● Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year

● NSC discourages the use of turkey fryers at home, except oil-less fryers. Follow the U.S. Fire Administration turkey fryer guidelines.

● The foodsafety.gov website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some valuable holiday food safety tips

● The CPSC recommends toys that do not have small parts for children under age 3 because of the risk of choking. Avoid toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet for children under age 10.

● Include an appropriate helmet when gifting bikes or riding toys.

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Save the Date — Community Partners' Meeting, December 13, 2022

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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 # 12 below and "Name that Violation" by emailing your best guess to DPIEpio@co.pg.md.us.

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Name that Violation Contest with photo of open storage of broken items and yard of trash

DPIE Congratulates

Tammy Jones

for correctly identifying the violation
in photo number 11 (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.)

County Code text regarding Open Storage - Hoarding

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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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Adama Kamagate

Adama Kamagate, Site/Road Plan Review Division — Engineer I, 11/07/2022

Adama hails from Philadelphia. He graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering. He worked in both horizontal and vertical construction for four years. During his off time, he enjoys running, swimming, hiking and traveling overseas. He is excited about his new adventure at DPIE!

Field of grass, flowers and blue sky

Bahram Forouzanfar, Inspections Division — Construction Standards Inspector I, 11/7/2022

Bahram is excited about the work he is doing at DPIE and has been welcomed enthusiastically by his colleagues! 

Hadiya Williams

Hadiya Williams, Permitting and Licensing Division — Engineering Technician, 11/07/2022

Hadiya holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Architecture and Interior Design from Anne Arundel Community College. Hadiya previously worked in the DPIE Permit Center for about six months. 

Jiregna Yadeta

Jiregna Yadeta, Site/Road Plan Review Division — Engineer I,11/21/2022

Jiregna (Jay) received his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Mekelle University in Ethiopia and a Master’s in Geotechnical Engineering from Addis Ababa University of Ethiopia. He has designed various foundation elements of residential, commercial and public infrastructures. Jay has also developed various geotechnical study programs and supervised their implementation.

Tigistu Zewdie

Tigistu Zewdie, Building Plan Review Division — Engineer I, 11/21/2022

Tigistu is an electrical engineer and a graduate of George Mason University. He has worked for more that 13 years in the transit industry. He is a family man and the proud father of two daughters. 

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Happy Festival of Lights!

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Merry Christmas!

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Happy Kwanzaa!

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