City and County Leaders Receive Update on Permit Process Study

Members of the Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg County Commission received updates last week on the progress of the ongoing permitting and inspection review conducted by Gartner Consulting, set in motion last year by a series of letters from REBIC, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association.

The Gartner report contained seven recommended actions:

    Create Unified Development Services Governance Structure to enable improvementsRedesign Unified Customer Service Model and tailor to different customer segmentsOrchestrate cultural shift and enhance partnership with IndustrySimplify, educate, and establish accountability on delivery of development servicesPlan and manage technology collaboratively to address gaps, redundancy, and inefficiencyImprove consistency of code interpretation and applicationEnhance measurement of success to align with customers and drive desired behaviors and increase predictability

Along with these recommendations, staff provided an update on improvements already underway, including:

    Customer service training for code enforcement staff, and expectations incorporated into employee performance reviews;Improved plan review & inspection inconsistency process;Streamlined revisions to approved plan (RTAP) process;Improved coordination between City/County to resolve permit holds;Building permit holds on addresses viewable to customers;Project Manager/Team Contact information listed on permits;Expanded use and participation of pre-submittal meetings;Certificate of Occupancy checklist;Fast-tracked plan pick-up & drop-off; and,Initial redesign of the Code Enforcement website

Most recently, REBIC met with Mecklenburg County staff to look at ways to improve the transparency of the permit hold system, which often frustrates builders and property owners by not fully disclosing entitlement restrictions that have been placed on properties and building sites by city and county departments. The meeting is expected to result in some immediate fixes, with broader notification improvements planned when the County launches an upgraded permitting system later this year.

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