City and County Continue Progress with Development Process Improvements

Source: Mecklenburg County LUESA

LUESA LogoMecklenburg County Code Enforcement and City of Charlotte Land Development staff continue to work jointly on the Phase I recommendations from the Gartner report. Gartner, an independent consulting firm, was commissioned in late 2014 to do a study surrounding the processes and current state of construction and development regulation in Mecklenburg County and provide feedback for enhancing customer service.

LUESA Director Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi and Code Enforcement Director Patrick Granson will speak at REBIC’s September 8th Public Policy meeting to provide a more detailed update and answer questions from builders and developers. 

Gartner Phase I Recommendations

The group initially submitted a report with the following broad recommendations:

  1. Establish unified development services governance and supporting sub-committees.
  2. Improve customer alignment.
  3. Improve culture and foster partnership.
  4. Implement immediate process and technology improvements.
  5. Develop future services delivery models.
  6. Establish long-term permitting and plan review application strategy and implement.
  7. Establish an optimization process leveraging enhanced metrics.

Phase I Progress Update

As of this writing, Recommendations 1-6 are under way, with Recommendation 7 expected to start in the near future. Recommendations 1 and 2 are expected to reach completion by the end of the calendar year.

Gartner Phase II Recommendations

After beginning work on the Phase I broad recommendations, Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte asked for more specific recommendations on how to refine our processes and customer service. Recently, Gartner delivered its Phase II recommendations, which focus on process refinement:

  1. Transition to a single application and submission process and point of entry that intakes all application types.
  2. Implement a mechanism, such as an online wizard, that assists new or uneducated customers through the application process.
  3. Implement an automated zoning check (where possible).
  4. Trigger automated zoning reviews to execute at the time of building permit application submission.
  5. Transition to a collaborative, concurrent and entirely electronic plan review process.
  6. Require application pre-submittal meetings for the most complex, risky project types.
  7. Rebrand the names of premium services, such as expedited plan review and inspections, to reduce customer confusion with the options available to them from the city and/or the county.
  8. Transition to have both the city and county operate on a First-In, First-Out plan review process that is associated with realistic, predictable, performance metrics to reduce inconsistencies and improve the plan review process.
  9. Standardize the inspection request process across all inspecting agencies to initiate from one submission point.

Phase II Progress

Currently, the county and the city are analyzing the Phase II recommendations for feasibility and options for implementation. We will provide an update on our continued progress in the future. County and city staff worked closely with Gartner staff through May and June, and provided an update to elected officials earlier this summer.

For more information on Gartner’s Phase II recommendations, take a look at Gartner’s Phase II report.

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