By Nate Harold

For The Diamondback

The College Park City Council identified local control over business permitting as one of its legislative priorities Tuesday night.

While Mayor Patrick Wojahn pinpointed the reconstruction of Route 1 as the city’s current priority, council members felt transferring the power over business permitting from Prince George’s County to city authorities was also an important issue to raise before state and county officials this year.

Wojahn presented three topics Tuesday for the council to consider adding to its legislative agenda.

These topics were greater local control over stormwater management fees, exploring the possibility of allowing Prince George’s County municipalities greater authority over business permitting and a potential bond bill to support a city project.

“Our number one priority … should be that municipalities in [Prince George’s] county have the full rights and authorities that they have in the other 22 counties in the state,” District 1 Councilwoman Christine Nagle said. “I mean, we have to go 12 different agencies to do anything. … I think it’s long overdue that we start pushing in that direction.

Wojahn said businesses in College Park must go through both city and county processes in order to secure a permit. According to city documents, “businesses often complain about the duplicate requirements.”

“Allowing greater municipal authority over business permitting processes would streamline the permitting process for businesses by eliminating the requirement that they go through both county and city permitting processes,” Wojahn wrote in an email.

While the city process for issuing a business permit can be swift, county processes often take much longer, Wojahn said.

Wojahn said the council and its municipalities could consider working with county authorities to allow the city to take over more permitting requirements to reduce duplication, though, if approved, this would require more input from city staff.

“It may be possible for the county to delegate their [permitting] powers to the city … subject to [county] approval,” City lobbyist Len Lucchi said.

The council chose not to add business permitting to its legislative agenda Tuesday, but will discuss the issue more at next week’s meeting. Wojahn said the council must decide which issues to include on the legislative agenda before going before the Maryland General Assembly.

The council will discuss its legislative agenda with federal, state and county officials at the College Park Legislative Dinner, which will be held at the University of Maryland Golf Course clubhouse Dec. 5.