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Sat, Jan. 18

Improving turnaround time priority of city on permits

KINGMAN ­ Online inspection scheduling, adding staff, and working on communication between departments all factor into improving permit turnaround in the city Community Development Department.

Working out the initial bugs from getting the E-track system online last week, Building Department Administrative Secretary Sheri Lynn Sixkiller-Wing said 16 area builders are now in the system and two are now using it to schedule inspections.

"We've worked out a lot of bugs," Sixkiller-Wing said, indicating that some inspection requests made last week were not registering properly.

Sixkiller-Wing added that the building department started sending out residential-contractor inspection lists on Oct. 7 to all contractors previously doing business with the department.

The new checklist itemizes all factors reviewed when a site is up for inspection.

Sixkiller-Wing said the department will schedule an inspection request entered in the e-track system or called in within 24-hours if notified by 3 p.m. that day.

She added that each inspector is assigned to a particular zone in the community so inspectors are on top of progress of the projects in their area.

Residential Plans Examiner Don Anderson said that the turnaround time for residential permits is currently at a three-week maximum.

Accessory buildings, such as a patio or attached garage, are often approved in three days or less, he said. Martin said that timing has substantially improved compared to a period last summer when permit-issuing was taking up to six weeks. Builders submitting standardized plans and adding a residential plans examiner to the staff last May has helped substantially, he added. Martin also said incomplete plan submissions are what usually slows the system down.

Community Development has been using a master data system since February 2004, and coordination between all different departments involved could utilize the system to improve efficiency, Residential Plans Examiner Dave Hattrick said. "This is our central nervous system, but we're still trying to get rid of the old ways," he said, pointing to a plans packet where all the information was tied together, though most departments would only need one portion of the information to review to move the project through instead of the plans lying in a pile waiting for further review. We're identifying areas where we can speed up the process."

The Building Department is fully staffed as permitted by the current budget after hiring another building inspector last week. "It's still going to be tough," said Interim Building Official Doug Bradley about keeping up with the pace of inspection demands.

Bradley said that given the growth, recommendations from a consultant evaluating the Commercial Development Department still call for another building inspector and plans examiner. "We've pretty much addressed 90 percent of their comments," Bradley said, adding that many commercial plans still go to a third party examiner. The city does not have a structural, mechanical or electrical engineer on staff, he said.

Bradley said another recommendation was making the department facilities more customer-friendly, possibly with a "one-stop shop" providing all building services in one building.

Principal Planner Rob Owen said members from all departments involved in the planning process are preparing an action report for City Council to be presented in council's December workshop. One consultant recommendation was forming a plan review team of members of all involved departments to oversee the process.

"We're addressing each recommendation in the report, what we're going to do, what we've done­ setting up a time line for implementation," Owen said.

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