Coronavirus Leads to New Ways of Doing Business with City’s Planning Department

With the closure of in-person visits to City Hall, Rockville’s Planning and Development Services Department has adopted a new service approach that allows customers to do business from the convenience of their couch.

Staff members have adopted non-paper-intensive processing of planning documents, permit applications, licenses and plan review via email, phone, online and virtually. Customers can submit materials electronically, saving them a trip to City Hall.

“We’re seeing a lot of people use our new electronic services, and they’re telling us they want those services to continue,” said John Foreman, Rockville’s development services manager.

The public can also log on and take part in teleconferenced meetings of the Planning Commission, Board of Appeals and Historic District Commission. Inspections have continued virtually as well, helping to keep building and other projects on track.

Local eateries can take advantage of eased restrictions that allow outdoor dining by applying for a temporary outdoor dining permit. The permit allows Rockville’s restaurants to temporarily create or expand outdoor spaces for dining on private property and within the city’s rights of way, such as Gibbs Street and East Montgomery Avenue, which was recently closed to allow space for diners.

To see the new services available, visit

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