Q&A with Helen Smith

Community Planning
Helen Smith
Helen Smith

Helen Smith, the Planning Information Services and Permit Review supervisor with the Prince George’s Planning Department, is currently working on an online request intake system and online payment process.

Q: If you could develop one project in Prince George’s County, what would it be?

MPDU Program – Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit/Housing for first-time home buyers. Work on getting the public to want to invest in the County to be in the class or better than Arlington, Montgomery, Fairfax, etc.  I am tired of having to defend this County because of negative press/assumptions.

 Q: Which project have you worked on that you are most proud of?

Online Information Request Submittals – Our customers can now submit requests for Site Plans/House Surveys, Sketch Maps, Mailing Lists, Approved Detailed Site Plans and other development review matters, Publications,  Zoning Verification, and Buildable Lot Letters via our online forms located at www.pgplanning.org/1547/Planning-Information-Services.

ACD Telephone System –  Upon calling into the Information Services Section, customers are given DPIE’s telephone number and address if their call is permit related. They are then given three options for information: Option 1 gives our hours of operation and address, Option 2 gives our website, where they can submit an information request (anytime of the day) and provides application status, and Option 3 allows the caller to speak to a Planning Technician.

Q: Can you share a fun fact about yourself that many people don’t know?

As a hobby, in my much younger days, I used to ride motorcycles and canoed at night in the BioBay in Puerto Rico, where the water glows in the dark.

Q: If you had one superhero power, what would it be and why?

 Wonder Woman’s Golden Rope because it made people say the truth 

Q: If you could do one thing over in your life, what would it be?

As a teenager I thought I knew more than my parents. If I can go back with the knowledge that they were a lot smarter than I ever thought, that would be cool.

Q: Who would you like to swap places with for one day?

Any man: I want to know why they think and do the things they do.

Q: What is one skill that you need to possess in your current role?

The ability to understand what people are trying to obtain/say, be patient, and the ability to see the whole picture and understand change is growth.

 Q: What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Enhancing the Online Information Request submittals and Online Payment, which enable us to be more digital and green.

Q: What’s one way people should be involved at a local level to make their communities and built environment healthier?

Volunteer in their communities, clean the environment, recycle, look at what is trash and what can be reused., and say something when you see something


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