T&E Item 2
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee
Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Bill 30-14, Streets and Roads - Right-of-Way Permit - Fee
Bill 30-14, Streets and Roads Right-of-way Permit - Fee - Exemption, sponsored by
Councilmembers Berliner, Riemer, EIrich, Leventhal, Floreen, Andrews, and Navarro, was
introduced on May
2014. A public hearing was held on June
at which the only speaker
was Reginald Jetter of the Department of Permitting Services (see testimony, ©1O).
Bill 30-14 would require DPS to waive the filing fee for
geographic area signs by civic and homeowners' organizations. It is similar to a provision in the
current County sign law, §59-F-9.l, (converted to §7.4.3.B.2 in the new zoning code; see ©4-5),
which exempts these organizations from
all cases the sign must be smaller than
a maximum size set by regulation. The fiscal impact of waiving this fee would be negligible (see
fiscal impact statement on ©7-9).
In its testimony (see © 10), the County Department of Permitting Services supported this Bill
but raised several questions:
1) Who is eligible for a fee waiver or reduction?
DPS compared this Bill, which requires
DPS to totally waive the right-of-way permit fee for an eligible organization, with the current
zoning code provision (see ©4-5) which requires DPS to waive the sign permit fee for organizations
on the Planning Board's civic and homeowners' association list but only allows a discretionary full
or partial waiver for other non-profit tax-exempt organizations with limited revenues.
Council staff drafted this Bill to require a complete non-discretionary fee waiver for each
eligible organization because we
the current zoning provision lacks enforceable standards for
DPS to decide which organization would qualify, among those eligible, for an optional waiver or
our view, the law fails to channel DPS' discretion or inform DPS who among
those eligible deserves a waiver, which raises First Amendment issues because signage is a form of
speech. (The fact that the Planning Board apparently does not have clear-cut standards for which
"civic and homeowners' associations" are placed on its list does not resolve, and actually may