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Councilwoman Holds Business Roundtable

Owners want smoother permitting process.

Seeking to increase communication with local businesses and Prince George's County government, councilwoman Mary Lehman held her first District 1 roundtable at Laurel Library.

About 20 local business owners and managers from District 1's community in Laurel, College Park, Adelphi and Beltsville came to the event last week, swapping business cards and sharing input on issues plaguing companies in the county.

There are well over 1,000 businesses in District 1, according to Mirinda Jackson, compliance manager for the Minority Business Enterprise for Prince George’s County, and of the ones present, the largest frustration expressed was the long permit process with the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources.

Emily Tan Brophy is an owner of Crystal Plaza in South Laurel. She said long waits for building permits from the county have delayed the plaza’s from opening stores for tenants.

“The permitting process in Prince George’s County is horrendous,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to extend build-out.”

Lehman said that she and the county council are working with DER to ensure the process moves more efficiently, but she said there is a deeply embedded culture in county government that is slow moving

Still, Lehman said the event proved useful in letting small business owners know about contracting opportunities available through the county's Small Business Initiative and Center for Minority Business Development.

“This is what we were going for,” she said. “Twenty to 30 people. [We want businesses to] realize help on the county level.”

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