After a long and sometimes contentious city policy meeting recommendations from the Development Process Ad Hoc Task Force, co chaired by City Councilmen Tom Simplot and Sal DiCiccio, were approved.
More recommendations will be brought to the council for a vote at the end of May.
“It’s huge what we got done,” DiCiccio said. “We shaved off months. We not only streamlined, but we cut significant red tape for business owners. We saved business owners thousands and tens of thousands of dollars not only in cost but in cost of time. It was huge and we’re not done.”
The recommendations passed will speed up the site plan review process, electronic plan review, tenant improvements and self-certification.
One portion of the task force’s report, dealing with inspections, was not passed during the policy meeting as some speakers expressed concerns over no city union inspectors being allowed on the task force and the possibility of shop owners being able to choose their own inspector. That portion of the report was sent back for more discussion and will be brought up again in May. Those who spoke during the meeting on behalf of union employees were invited to join the task force.
DiCiccio said the recommendations that were passed will allow property owners to get permits immediately and take four to six months off the process. The biggest change for business owners in the Ahwatukee Foothills area is in tenant improvements. The new recommendations allow any shop owner to hire an engineer or architect that is certified through the city to turn in their plans and pull a permit in the same day and be ready to move on to inspections.
The task force plans to bring more recommendations to the City Council on May 29. DiCiccio said the next step is creating a process that will allow inspections to be done within 24 hours and cutting the cost of permits.
“We’re going to look at all permits and break them into three categories,” DiCiccio said. “There are permits we have to have, permits we may or may not need or that can be combined with other permits, and then permits we need to get rid of. We’re looking at cutting that down. The midsection is the important part. Instead of coming in for three permits and being charged three times the cost you’ll be able to pull one permit that covers multiple areas. That’s the goal.”
For more information on the Development Process Ad Hoc Task Force, visit the city’s website at phoenix.gov/development/adhoc.html.
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