Goal Three: Improve the Speed, Consistency, and Predictability of the Development Review Process
Foster and facilitate a dynamic land development and entitlement process. The process should provide a meaningful participatory role for county residents to ensure that the community’s vision for growth, redevelopment and community reinvestment is realized. The process should recognize that time-to-market is crucial and the county should work internally and with its partners to ensure a timely and predictable review process that is agile enough to respond to market demand.
3.1 Streamline the process for amending the Comprehensive Plan. This would allow for greater agility and flexibility to respond to specific business opportunities and could reduce the overall time to market.
- Improve the process by which Plan amendments are considered concurrently with a development application.
3.2 Evaluate and amend as necessary the Zoning Ordinance, Public Facilities Manual, and other regulatory documents and processes to ensure that we keep pace with current markets and development demands and conditions, as well as state of the art regulatory techniques. Recognize importance of standards to create desired vibrant, pedestrian friendly activity centers, while maintaining the integrity of stable suburban areas. As appropriate, test the efficacy and benefits of such proposed changes in the county’s designated revitalization districts/areas.
- Examine the content and application of the Public Facilities Manual to ensure that the manual is used as a guideline, and is not considered minimum design standards or requirements.
- Accommodate increased urbanization and provide guidance for the evolving nature of development and urban structures.
- Update outdated terminology and definitions.
- Prioritize regulatory changes to have the biggest impacts on business development.
- Focus on minimizing the use of waivers to implement development consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
- Review Zoning Ordinance to allow for flexible provisions that support innovative small businesses, start-ups, and other companies in strategic locations.
- Consider innovative ideas such as live-work units and pop-up activities in vacant spaces as a means of providing temporary opportunities to enliven spaces and demonstrate market demand and viability.
- Provide flexibility to encourage public art displays and incorporate retail arts opportunities.
- Consider exempting building space dedicated for public uses from density calculations.
- Streamline Zoning Ordinance requirements and increase flexibility for housing that is affordable for all our residents and workforce.
- Provide regulatory flexibility, including for parking, to help fill vacant retail and other spaces expeditiously and to incentivize users to locate in these spaces.
- Continue to work with growing industries to ensure that our ordinances and processes keep pace with expanding and evolving opportunities.
- Study proffers and development conditions to determine if they are a disincentive to development.
3.3 Develop a business model for regulatory services designed around meeting agreed upon service levels.
- Foster a culture of open communication and engagement among the development industry, county review staff and decision-makers, and the community, with a focus on helping applicants get to the finish line. Consider an ombudsman for the development process.
- Encourage a cooperative, collaborative framework of zoning, site, fire marshal, and building plan review.
- Evaluate options for allowing concurrent submission and review of the traditionally sequential development processes.
- Explore restructuring of operations to increase efficiency, such as unifying functions across land development agencies.
- Evaluate an Enterprise Fund for land development agencies to facilitate the timely review and approval of plans and permits in zoning, site, building and fire marshal review and inspections to meet service level expectations from industry.
- Implement a comprehensive work plan to improve performance, with a focus on timeliness, consistency, responsiveness to customers, and quality control.
- Ensure revitalization projects remain a priority throughout the entitlement and regulatory review processes.
- Identify, compare, and evaluate metrics for land use decisions with other area jurisdictions and with jurisdictions around the country to identify and implement best practices for streamlining services.
3.4 Leverage technology to create internal efficiencies in the regulatory process and to improve customer service.