Friday, August 27, 2010

City’s On Target program delivers improved processing times for development permits

Wait times for development permits have improved with The City’s new On Target program.

Over the past two years, The City’s Planning Department undertook a series of improvements to speed up the timelines on development permits and other applications.  City staff worked with development industry representatives as part of the “On Target” program to establish agreed upon targets, specifically those related to development permits and outline plan and land use applications and their timelines.

Stan Schwartzenberger, The City’s Director of Development & Building Approvals, says, “Based on the targets that are now in place, there has been a significant improvement in timelines from 2006 to date.  In 2006, development permit applications were taking on average 213 days and land use/outline plans on average 211 days. Timelines have been improved to 122 days and 165 days respectively for the full year ending 2009 and we are seeing favourable results carry on into 2010.”

City staff have worked to deliver noticeable improvements on processing times for current applications – meeting decision times for both development permit and land use applications over 80 per cent of the time. Processing times have also improved with the reduction of 450 backlogged files in the last year.

Schwartzenberger says, “Even though the new targets are being met, we are committed to continuous improvements and ongoing efforts to improve consistency, customer service, accountability and timelines on applications.  It’s an ongoing commitment we’ve made to the development and building industry and all Calgarians – and on which we are making good progress.”

In 2009, The City hired an independent consultant to conduct a review of the Land Use Bylaw and associated administrative processes.  The resulting Clarion/Zucker Report (Report to Council April 2010) recommends 23 short term and 17 long term improvements.  A report on progress implementing these recommendations will be given to Council this fall.

Clarion  stated in the Report that the Corporate Planning Applications Group process was one of the best they had seen, but that considered with a new land use bylaw provided room for further improvements.  Schwartzenberger says, “There’s still more that can be done on both sides of the application process to reduce the turnaround times.  The Report is helping to focus our work with citizens, Industry and staff in the year ahead.”

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