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charlotte49ersuptown

The Permitting Process in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

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This topic has come up at several meetings I have been to and in my research on housing. Again and again, developers in Charlotte complain that the permitting process is too long, outdated, and down right sucks. Many incentive based programs across the country offer streamlined permitting as an incentive. This leads me to believe that it is a national problem and not specific to Charlotte. Not being a developer, I am unaware of the steps that need to be taken even for a small project. Can anyone shed some light, especially developers or contractors, on what steps would need to be taken to streamline permitting in Charlotte. I know that since urban developments have been on the rise, it seems the permitting process has yet to adapt to the new kinds of buildings and designs. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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My biggest complaint about the Charlotte permitting process is that they will not issue conditional approvals. Even the smallest comments on construction plans can cause another 30 day review. Also, I'm not sure what the deal is, but the comments from the city have been very inconsistent. I'll get a very general comment on one job, apply it to another, and get a complete different comment. They need to set better guidelines as to what they expect in a set of construction documents.

However, on a positive note, Charlotte's review process is much more lax than Cary's. I've never done work in a district as pretentious as Cary, and from my experience and talking to others, it takes forever to get a job approved.

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I will say that I am at least happy that the process is not too lax. We would end up looking a lot like Atlanta or Houston if that were the case. (No offense to those that are from there, I just prefer better planned cities)

A2

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Yes. In fact the permitting process was toughened up here a number of years ago because developers were building houses of such poor quality. I would not want to see them make it easier for these builders to get away with poor quality.

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I am certain, even as an observer, that the building codes are all necessary for development. What I am trying to figure out is how to make the process quicker and more streamlined. I don't know that the answer is, is it shear manpower issues or is it more complicated. If an incentive for a builder was streamlined permitting, how would that look and what should it look like from the point of view of developers, engineers, contractors, etc.

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I would say manpower is a big issue.

Also, I don't know if they do this, but it would be great if the city would host "workshops" for architects and engineers to attend where they would update them on changes to code, and let them know common issues that get projects denied. (i.e. I see Bike Parking as an issue that causes reriew on almost every urban project where the rezoning requires it....there are codes that require short term bike spaces to be within certain distances of the building entrances etc).

The goal of these workshops would be to reduce the number of issues on first submittals, which would ulimately leed to fewer reviews (reducing permitting times), which would free up manpower (also reducing permitting times). The city could offer accredidation to design professionals attending this permit workshops, which the professionals could use to help sell their services to developers.

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I would say manpower is a big issue.

Also, I don't know if they do this, but it would be great if the city would host "workshops" for architects and engineers to attend where they would update them on changes to code, and let them know common issues that get projects denied. (i.e. I see Bike Parking as an issue that causes reriew on almost every urban project where the rezoning requires it....there are codes that require short term bike spaces to be within certain distances of the building entrances etc).

The goal of these workshops would be to reduce the number of issues on first submittals, which would ulimately leed to fewer reviews (reducing permitting times), which would free up manpower (also reducing permitting times). The city could offer accredidation to design professionals attending this permit workshops, which the professionals could use to help sell their services to developers.

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Manpower is the biggest issue facing CharMeck review staff. We just recieved comment back from City Engineering that were over a month late because the reviewing engineer quit. I imagine it's hard to keep the staff when development is at such a great pace.

I also feel that half the time BS comments are made because the reviews feel they have to make comments or they will not be doing their job properly.

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