Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Leaner, More Efficient Permit Process Will Benefit All Taxpayers

Throughout my campaign for Mayor, I heard repeatedly from residents and business owners that the City's permitting process is too expensive, too slow, and too difficult to navigate effectively. How can businesses grow, expand, or build new --- and create jobs --- when they've got to navigate a maze—and an expensive maze at that—before they can even begin?

Late last year, I met with City Staff and the Building Industry Association Officials to discuss streamlining opportunities. I and the City Council have directed Staff to find ways to streamline the permitting process without compromising safety and livability – and last night we heard a variety of proposals to do just that.

I commend City Manager Pat McDonnell not only for following through on this direction and guiding City Staff toward a number of solutions, but also for involving the community in the process. A group of local development and construction experts were convened to review the staff proposals before they came before Council, so they could offer practical, hands-on suggestions for improvements.

The proposals we heard are specifically targeted to assist small businesses, to reduce the required process for land use approvals and to introduce additional flexibility in the building plan review process. One proposal, for example, would streamline the process for new projects in key areas where there's already been a lot of planning and environmental work. These areas are not just the waterfront and Downtown, but also Fourth Plain Corridor, Section 30, and the Riverview gateway in East Vancouver.

Other proposals eliminate or modify permit, plan review or inspection requirements for minor work, such as small plumbing and electrical projects, which means time and money saved for homeowners and businesses.

Now that these proposals have gone before Council (and before we heard them they were also reviewed by the Planning Commission and the Fire Code Commission, to vet them for safety and effectiveness), they'll go to public hearings before the Planning Commission, Building and Fire Code Commission, and Council.

1 comment:

Todd B - Carter Park said...

Hopefully this streamlining will spur some development in Vancouver's favor. Maybe the time is right; businesses seem fed up with Portland's process to the point where they're going elsewhere or not coming at all. See the links below

Business people and Experts agree: Stay away from Portland

(Portland)The City That Charges