Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today literally cut through red tape as he announced the new walk-through permitting procedure the Department of City Planning and the Bureau of Building Inspections will implement next week.
Beginning March 5, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, homeowners and contractors will be able to register and walk their building permit applications through the various departments and reviewers, obtaining a permit that same day, provided they meet zoning/building code requirements and their applications are complete. All applicants would be required to be registered at the Zoning counter no later than noon on the day of the walk-through to have the permit processed the same day.
"This new permitting procedure is in response to numerous comments I've received, and continue to receive, from contractors, developers, elected officials, and organizations involved in development," said Mayor Ravenstahl. "The constituents have been crying out for a change in the review and approval process. Walk-through permitting answers those cries by improving customer service and processing permits faster, which translates to shovels in the ground faster, and money into the economy."
Projects eligible for walk-thru permitting would be minor residential permits for single family detached and attached dwelling units. Minor permits would include: roofs; additions, extensions, and alterations; swimming pools; shutters; fences; decks and patios; kitchens and kitchen replacements; and accessory uses, i.e. sheds and garages.
The Department of City Planning and the Bureau of Building Inspections will post the application requirements on the City's website and at their respective offices at 200 Ross Street.
Permits for new homes will be processed in five days as part of this streamlining initiative.
"If the public knows there will be people at a counter Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, they will be less likely to call and will just show up on walk-thru days," said Pat Ford, the City's director of economic and community development. It will also free up Tuesdays and Thursdays to dedicate time for plan reviews for major projects with fewer interruptions.
Last year, 57% of the 2002 building permits issued could or would have been issued the same day under the walk-through permitting system, according to the Bureau of Building Inspections. This initiative would be a first in Pennsylvania.
Said the Mayor, "It used to be that the builders could complete the project faster than it took to obtain the permit. Now, with walk-through permitting, we can say, 'Can you build it as fast as we can process the permit?'"
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
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Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687