City of Tallahassee Development Review Fast Tracking and Customer Service Initiative
On February 11, 2009, the City Commission adopted the Local Economic Emergency Fast Tracking Program for Public Sector Projects. The program was designed to stimulate our local economy by creating jobs, while also developing a streamlined regulatory program that facilitates construction of needed public sector projects. In addition to adopting the public sector stimulus package, the Commission expressed an interest in considering potential measures for assisting the private sector in withstanding the current economic crisis.
The City Commission directed staff to explore potential incentives that could help stimulate private sector development and job creation. Staff and representatives from the development community worked as a team to prepare a Temporary Economic Emergency Concurrency Relief Program. The primary purpose of the program was to stimulate development activity and job creation in the short-term. In addition to concurrency relief, the City Commission also reduced the cost per lane mile used in the calculation of concurrency mitigation dollars from $10 million to $7.5 million.
Currently, a customer who submits a site plan or environmental permit with the City, on average, once the item has been accepted by Staff as complete, experiences the following timeline associated with final approval:
|• Minor Environmental Permit
|• Standard Environmental Permit
|• Type A Site Plan
|• Type B Site Plan
In 2009, City Staff reviewed 27 Type A Site Plans, 8 Type B Site Plans and processed 66 environmental permits.
In her annual New Year's Resolutions, the City Manager challenged staff to develop additional improvements to assist the community and encourage private sector development. In response to the City Manager's direction, a project team was formed, led by Assistant City Manager Jay Townsend, that included representatives from Growth Management, Planning, Public Works, CRA, Stormwater, Electric, Underground Utilities and Economic and Community Development. The group utilized a three-tiered approach to outlining immediate, short-term, and long-term improvements with the following goals in mind: reduce development review time for private sector projects; change the role of staff in the development review process from regulators to facilitators, protect our quality of life, and improve customer service.
Based on conversations with City Departments and several private citizens, developers and contractors to include Todd Sperry, Mark Lleyellyn, Karen Bass and Cliff Lamb, twenty-five (25) ideas were discussed and eventually categorized into four types of improvements:
- Process Improvements - those changes in how the City staff manages the development review process and related steps
- Code Improvements/Ordinance Changes - amendments to existing ordinances and codes that would require City Commission consideration and approval
- Information Improvements - changes and enhancements to City communication and outreach efforts that would better educate customers and staff to improve service
- Organizational Improvements - those improvements that could be implemented that would change either how the organization is arranged to provide the development review process or how the organization perceives its roles and responsibilities.
Staff has provided both a summary and a detailed listing of all proposed improvements per the above categorization. In the summary, improvements are prioritized by how easy the Staff felt that each idea could be implemented (based on complexity and resources required) and on how each idea had an overall impact to customers, the community and the organization. The 25 improvements, based on their priority ranking, were further divided into an implementation timeline that looked at what improvements could be implemented within the next two months, within the next 6 months and finally those remaining improvements that could be implemented within a one-year time frame.
Staff believes that 24 out of the 25 recommended enhancements could be completed and implemented by December 31, 2010. The overhaul of the Land Development Regulations, an improvement in the ordinance/code category, would take longer to complete. If the proposed improvements are implemented, staff estimates that permitting time could potentially be reduced by almost three months for some of the permitting processes. Staff will be following up with a second phase of the program in August to include an analysis of specific Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan requirements and recommendations for modifications that can help to further the City's planning goals without compromising the integrity of the environment. For now, please see the updated Frequently Asked Questions and Top Ten List of Ways to Speed Up the Permitting Process!
Growth Managements Customer Service Pledge (PDF)
Impact to Customers
|Minor Environmental Permit
||5 to 7 days
||5 to 7 days
|Standard Environmental Permit
||50 to 100 days
||25 to 50 days
|Type A Site Plan Process
||18 to 120 days
||15 to 90 days
|Type B Site Plan Process
||40 to 135 days
||30 to 105 days
Would you like more certainty regarding the timeframes for site plan and environmental permit reviews for your project? Contact Growth Managment Land Use and Environmental Services at (850 891-7100 to initiate the development of a customized Development Services Pledge (PDF).
Up to a 50% reduction in standard environmental permitting timelines.
Up to a 25% reduction in Type A and B site plan timelines