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City Offices Play Musical Chairs

City departments and services in Annapolis are being moved around Friday so that similar services are now housed in a single building.

 will move the locations of more city services Friday as part of its on going effort to minimize the number of trips residents have to make between government buildings.

Employees in the Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs (DNEP) and the Fire Marshal's office will pack up their desks and move to the third floor of 145 Gorman St. Planning and Zoning is already located on that floor.

DNEP has been located at City Hall and the Fire Marshal works out of an office at the Forest Drive fire station.

"We're excited about it, but it's a lot of work between now and then," said DNEP Director Maria Broadbent.

Broadbent's office will close Friday, Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. and re-open Tuesday, Aug 7 at 8:30 a.m. That will mean a temporary disruption in DNEP's services, but Broadbent thinks this new configuration will serve the public more efficiently and make life better for city employees.

"What we do overlaps with Planning and Zoning, and it overlaps with the Fire Marshall's office," Broadbent said. "It makes a lot of sense to be combined."

She gave the example of building a restaurant in Eastport. First, a person would ask planning and zoning if the property they had in mind is zoned properly. Then, DNEP would issue building permits and conduct inspections during construction. At the same time, the Fire Marshal's office would look over the plans to make sure things like the sprinkler system, range hoods and fire exits are correct.

"The Fire Marshal used to be way over the other side of town," Broadbent said. "We do a lot of projects that involve all three departments, and there is often times we get together to problem-solve what needs to be done." 

The Fire Marshal's office will begin the process of moving to 145 Gorman this weekend, but Broadbent said large amounts of paperwork will delay the marshal's transition.

"Something needs to be done to accommodate those files," Broadbent said. "We'd like to think that we're moving paperless, but there is still a lot of paper around that we need to hang on to."

The next phase of city reorganizing is set for October when the Mayor's Office and the City Manager will move to the second floor of City Hall to take over the offices vacated by DNEP.

Then in December, the Office of Law will return to City Hall from its current home at 93 Main St. and move back into the first-floor space left vacant by the mayor.

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