|Pre Application Meeting (PAM)
The purpose of providing this voluntary opportunity to all developers, engineers and other applicants is to improve the overall quality of plans being submitted to the Department and improve the quality of the development review process. Benefits will be fewer plan submissions for approval, shorter overall plan review time, education of both the private and public sector of each other’s perspective, improved communication and a team approach to problem solving. Addressing potential difficulties in meeting requirements at the onset may preclude delays later in the review process. At this time all requests for waivers, variations and proposed modification of standards should be justified, discussed and resolved.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to schedule a pre-application meeting with a Development Review Staff member to discuss specific application/submission requirements. This is also an opportunity for perspective applicants to ask questions about the review and approval process. Additional pre-application meetings may be requested for larger more complicated projects. The applicant is responsible for improving public facilities adjoining and serving the site. Road improvements, including sidewalks, traffic safety improvements, right-of-way dedication, and public and private road improvements may be required. If a proposal is submitted with incomplete information, the Department will not be able to complete the review or approve the submission. In addition, no permits may be issued until the review process has been completed.
Post Submission Conference (PSC)
Once plan review comments have forwarded to the submitting engineer and developer, a post submission review with each of the reviewing agencies should be scheduled if so desired by the submitting engineer. When requested, the meeting will be scheduled within seven (7) to ten (10) calendar days. The purpose of the post submission conference is to clarify comments and reach a final consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues. The PSC is held at the Department of Public Works & Transportation office and should be attended by the submitting engineer, a review supervisor from the Department and the developer (as deemed appropriate by the submitting engineer).
Following the PSC, the engineer will revise the plan accordingly. When the revisions are complete, the plan should be ready for resubmission. The submitting engineer is responsible for reviewing the plans for completeness and conformity prior to resubmission. His/her professional seal/certification on the plans indicates that the proper quality control has been exercised in preparing the plan for submission. The submitting engineer is strongly urged to use a Comment/Response format letter which completely and correctly addresses the issues discussed and agreed upon during the PSC. This letter is to be made part of the second submission plan along with a copy of the original agency review comment letter.
Review of Decisions
On August 7, 2012 the Commissioners of St. Mary's County approved a resolution to provide for review of decisions and actions in the application of the St. Mary’s County Road Ordinance or the St. Mary’s County Storm water, Grading, Erosion & Sediment Control Ordinance as follows: Petition for Review. Any person aggrieved by a final decision or action by the Director of the Department of Public Works & Transportation in the application of the St. Mary’s County Road Ordinance or the St. Mary’s County Storm water, Grading, Erosion & Sediment Control Ordinance, or by the Director of Land Use and Growth Management in the application of the St. Mary’s County Storm water, Grading, Erosion & Sediment Control Ordinance, may file a petition for review of such action with the Commissioners of St. Mary's County. A decision by a subordinate official in the Department shall be reviewed by the Director prior to filing a petition. A decision or action is final when the decision or action has been reviewed by the Director and determines a legal right or imposes a legal obligation. A petition for review shall:
1. identify the administrative officer whose action is the subject of the petition;
2. specify the action for which review is sought;
3. allege that a substantial right of the petitioner was prejudiced because the action:
(i) is unconstitutional; (ii) exceeded the authority of the final decision maker; (iii) results from an unlawful procedure; (iv) imposed a condition on the petitioner that exceeded the minimum requirements of law and applicable regulations;
(v) is unsupported by substantial evidence; or (vi) is arbitrary or capricious.
4. state with particularity the facts that support the allegation(s);
5. identify all relevant provisions of any law, ordinance or regulation applicable to the issue.
Referral to a Hearing Officer. A petition shall be reviewed by the Office of the County Attorney for legal sufficiency. If the Office of the County Attorney determines that the petition is legally insufficient, the Office of the County Attorney shall return the petition to the petitioner with a statement of the deficiencies. An amended petition may be refilled. The date of filing of an amended petition shall relate back to the date of the first filing of the petition. The Commissioners of St. Mary's County shall refer a legally sufficient petition to a Hearing Officer.
Appointment of Hearing Officer
(a) A Hearing Officer is not an “official” or “employee” subject to the St. Mary’s County Public Ethics Ordinance, but shall comply with the Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes of the American Arbitration Association. A Hearing Officer is not subject to the direction or supervision of any board or agent of the St. Mary’s County government, or the personnel or procurement policies of the St. Mary’s County government.
(b) A Hearing Officer shall be appointed by the County Administrator.
(c) Upon appointment and referral of a petition a Hearing Officer shall hear and receive evidence and argument, make findings of fact, state conclusions of law, and recommend an action by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County, and shall report such findings, conclusions, and recommendation to the Commissioners of St. Mary's County. The Hearing Officer shall not recommend relief for the petitioner unless the decision or action is clearly erroneous and not fairly debatable.
(d) All proceedings conducted by a Hearing Officer shall be recorded. All testimony and documentary evidence received by a Hearing Officer shall be transmitted to the Commissioners of St. Mary's County.
(e) The Commissioners of St. Mary's County (i) may adopt the findings, conclusions and recommendation of the Hearing Officer, or (ii) adopt different findings or conclusions based on the record of proceedings before the Hearing Officer, or (iii) for good cause, hear the matter de novo.