College Park waives fees for business, asks landlords to suspend rent


Michael Theis/Route 1 Reporter

Downtown College Park, Maryland, seen in happier times. Prince George's County economic development officials say small businesses like the ones on this block are among the most-vulnerable to pandemic-related business disruptions.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, College Park City Council unanimously approved a measure designed to give businesses relief from some city fees. 

The legislation waives business license renewal fees through the end of the next fiscal year in June 2021, suspends commercial sign and banner code enforcement – potentially making it easier for businesses to advertise – and lastly, ever-so-gently requests landlords delay or forego rental payments from their tenants “if financially feasible.”

The city issues about 464 business licenses per year at $124 per unit and 1,500 hotel room licenses at $41 per room. The fee waivers will cost the city a projected $60,000 through the end of the city’s 2021 fiscal year. 

“It would be a nice message I think to send to businesses that the city does care about them and the city’s thinking about them and doing what the city can do,” said College Park City Manager Scott Somers during City Council’s May 12, 2020, meeting.

City resident David Greg criticized the proposal during the meeting, held by videoconference. 

“You’re basically giving $60,000 away,” said Greg, who noted the legislation would benefit large corporations with operations in the city. “I can see the intent and the message, but the hotels and the motels I’m not particularly sympathetic towards.”

Editor’s note: Route 1 Reporter is – normally – a subscriber-supported local news website. Due to the state of emergency, articles about the coronavirus pandemic will be available for free. If you like the reporting, please support Route 1 Reporter on Patreon.

One thought on “College Park waives fees for business, asks landlords to suspend rent

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.