Montgomery Unveils ‘Peer Review Program’ to Accelerate Land Development Process

Montgomery County recently launched a new “peer review program” to help accelerate land development permit applications. 

This week the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) is launching a “Peer Review Program” for developers and property owners who want to retain the services of a DPS-certified peer reviewer for sediment control, stormwater management, and right-of-way projects that require permits from the DPS land development division. Beginning Monday, July 3, DPS will accept applications from professionals who request to be certified as peer reviewers.

Peer reviewers are professional engineers, land surveyors, landscape architects and others who have experience with the DPS plan review process. Peer reviewers could be hired by an applicant or developer to examine their plans as quality assurance before the plans are formally submitted to DPS. The peer reviewer may find inconsistencies, omissions or supporting documents that are missing. The peer reviewer then would provide comments to the design professional, who can update the plans before formally submitting them to DPS. This advisory service, which is optional, potentially speeds up the plan review timeline.

According to the press release: 

“The Peer Review Program is an optional tool for applicants to help ensure quality control prior to formal submission,” said DPS Director Rabbiah Sabbakhan. “DPS is still responsible for reviewing and approving all plans, including those reviewed by a peer reviewer. DPS will issue final approvals prior to permit issuance. These projects will be identified at intake and tracked. The desired outcome is that peer review will contribute favorably toward the overarching County objective of streamlining our permitting process.”

Information about this program is available on the DPS website. As peer review candidates are certified, their names and contact information will be added. Peer reviewers are certified in engineered sediment control/ stormwater management, grading, paving and storm drain plans. The charge for this service is determined by the peer reviewer.

The DPS Peer Review Program manual is posted on the DPS website for those who want to learn more about the program and become a certified peer reviewer.

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Read more about the program.