To legally inhabit and utilize any property, a Use and Occupancy Permit must be obtained. Every Use and Occupancy Permit is issued to a specific person or corporate entity for a specific allowable use at a specified location. Failure to obtain a use and occupancy permit can result in the issuance of a Municipal Infraction. Likewise, expanding or altering an existing use without obtaining a revised use and occupancy permit can result in a municipal infraction. In general, a Use and Occupancy Permit is required under any of the following circumstances:
- New commercial or residential construction from the ground up.
- Improvement and/or renovations to an existing tenant space.
- Change of ownership or tenant.
- Major damage renovation (i.e. fire, water, storm, etc.)
- Expansion of a tenant space.
- Christmas kiosks or tree stands.
- Seasonal outdoor vendors.
- Temporary outdoor promotions (i.e. tent sales, etc.)
- New home occupancies.
- Replacement of a revoked permit
- Change from an apartment to a condominium
If the applicant is not the owner of the real property (i.e. leasee/tenant) a permission letter from the property owner granting permission to the applicant to use the property is required. Please see the example permission letter Please note that a copy of the lease is not acceptable.
In addition, health institutions, restaurants, day cares, schools, and hospitals require an inspection from Prince George's County Health Department and State Fire Marshal's Office prior to issuance of a city permit. For commercial space, a floor plan should be supplied showing location of fixtures, display case locations, etc. All properties will be inspected for Code compliance by a City of Laurel Building Inspector prior to the issuance of a Use and Occupancy Permit.
Each zoning district has a listing of allowable uses, which are classified as main (or “by-right”) uses and special exception uses. By-right uses can be established simply by obtaining a use and occupancy permit. Special exception uses must be approved by the Planning Commission and the Board of Appeals before a use and occupancy permit can be issued. All properties must provide the minimum amount of onsite parking (i.e. not public parking) as required by Art. I, Div. 6, Sec. 20-16: PARKING AND LOADING FACILITIES of the Unified Land Development Code.
The fee for residential use and occupancy permits is $150; for commercial uses the fee is $250. Use and Occupancy Permits do not allow for signage. A separate sign permit must be obtained to post a sign.