In Maryland, there is currently no law requiring a permitting office to specify why a particular permit was rejected. The absence of this requirement, according to Delegate McDermott’s testimony, creates a costly back and forth process between the contractor or homeowner applying for the permit and the permitting officials.
“This complex permit process goes back and forth, back and forth, often times taking six months to a year to figure out exactly what is wrong with the proposed plans,” said Delegate McDermott at the bill hearing. “What House Bill 213 does is deal with fundamental problems in a regulatory process that makes things way too complex and costly for the people.”
“The unnecessary back and forth process costs people time, and time is money, whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor,” Delegate McDermott continues. “This bill says that if the people are denied a permit, the government must simply tell them why they were denied.”
A veteran contractor was also on hand in Annapolis to give testimony of the complex process currently in place. William Schmitt, who has been in the contracting business since 1987, welcomed the changes that Delegate McDermott’s bill would bring.
“As absurd as it sounds, I can tell you that this is a real problem,” Schmitt said. “During my last encounter trying to get plans approved, I had to go back and forth ten times, and never once did they tell me what specifically I had gotten wrong in my plans.”
“There are thousands of regulations,” Schmitt continued. “Knowing exactly which one the permit official is looking for you to correct can be a daunting task.”
“If the government is going to take actions against the citizens of this state and deny them the right to do something on their property, it must simply tell them why,” McDermott concluded.
The bill awaits a vote by the Environmental Affairs Committee.