November 29, 2011
ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed signed into law today the new and much-anticipated permitting legislation which will allow registered online applicants the ability to obtain a permit in 10 business days. The new ordinance will also establish an Enterprise Fund which will allow the fees charged for services to remain in the Department of Planning and Community Development’s Office of Buildings for critical technology upgrades and staff training.
“It has been a priority of my administration to find solutions to the challenges that have plagued our process for many years,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “This plan will reduce the number of days to receive a permit and improve customer service while also streamlining the process for our residents. We are consolidating personnel who handle permits by putting them under one roof.”
The permitting consolidation plan will also:
- Enable residents to fast track a permit within 24 to 72 hours for interior residential renovations and alterations smaller than 3,000 square feet
- Establish specialized services to address after-hours needs of contractors
- Create a combination inspection program
- Offer homeowner clinics for small home improvements.
On Monday, November 7, the Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a key component of the improvement plan that allows the Office of Buildings to create an Enterprise Fund which will financially support the delivery of those services.
“In an environment of fierce competition among cities and places, Atlanta has taken a step towards a more efficient and streamlined government, says Brian McGowan, president and CEO for the Atlanta Development Authority. “This kind of action by our elected officials sends a signal to the global investment community, who has choices in the places where they make investments, to bring their jobs to Atlanta.”
"This legislation revamps the entire permitting process for the City of Atlanta and provides the vehicle for sustaining a proactive and customer service-focused structure for the future,” said Michael Paris, president and CEO of Council for Quality Growth. “An efficient permit approval process will be a strong economic development driver for the city. The Council for Quality Growth commends Mayor Reed for pushing these changes forward and the City Council for its unanimous support."
The areas that impact the approval of a City of Atlanta permit include site development, plan review, erosion control, sanitation, traffic, fire and grease traps. In some cases, a permit application can be routed through as many as three different city departments before it is approved. According to a 2005 Bain Report, this process often lengthened the time to approve a permit by as much as 90 days.
“Reforming the building permit process in Atlanta is an important step toward making our city a more attractive location for companies wanting to expand or relocate their business here,” said John Ferguson, president of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors. “Realtors are proud to support this effort, because we know that it will mean better customer service and a reduction in costly delays for our clients on all sides of the transaction. Finally, establishing an Enterprise Fund for the Office of Buildings is good for Atlanta taxpayers, because it guarantees that the Office will operate at no cost to the City’s General Fund.”
“Merging all personnel who review and handle a permit application into the Department of Planning and Community Development will make the process more effective and efficient,” said Commissioner James E. Shelby.
In addition to improving customer service, the Office of Buildings’ new Enterprise Fund will also generate multiple revenue streams for construction-related services. New permit fees for services such as zoning certification letters, fast-tracking permits and penalties for working without a permit under a proposed permit protection program are being considered. Improvements to the City’s permitting process will begin in December 2011.
About the Department of Planning and Community Development:
The mission of the Department of Planning and Community Development is to plan and implement the future by guiding the physical and economic development of the City of Atlanta while enhancing the quality of life for all through a comprehensive range of planning, design review, construction plan approval, code compliance, and housing preservation and assistance services and programs.
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For more information about this and services of the City of Atlanta visit our website at www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26