In May, the Interdepartmental Team (IDT) delayed the June 1 start date for the new coordinated permitting function for DPD and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), after various stakeholder groups raised concerns about certain aspects of the process. In response, the City reviewed portions of the project to address the issues brought to our attention, and now estimates the project will go live Sept. 12, 2006.
The goals of the interdepartmental permitting project will remain intact as we address our stakeholders’ concerns. The goals aim to ensure applicants will be able to:
- Obtain a consolidated report with different City departments’ analysis and requirements
- Avoid late identification of costly design requirements
- Reduce gaps and contradictory information from disjointed department input
- Better scope and plan project budgets
Some of our stakeholders expressed the following concerns with coordinated permitting process:
- Consistently prepared applicants (CPAs) should not have to pay the $375 SDOT fee if they are already providing the street improvement details from SDOT’s Right-of-Way Manual.
- It’s useful for larger projects, but not smaller projects.
- How does the process fit with the Phased Project framework?
- Potentially impacting small projects that won’t have issues. Uninformed applicants are getting coaching, looking at Client Assistance Memos (CAMs), doing research, etc.
- Concern about getting 90% Street Improvement Plan accepted by SDOT. This could cause significant delays. SDOT has a five-day turnaround for normal plans, but a six-week turnaround for plans with deviations or exceptions.
In response to this feedback, DPD and SDOT management revised the process. The following changes are meant to address the concerns of our stakeholders:
- A new flat fee of $375 to be charged to all new construction projects by SDOT for preliminary review of street improvement design requirements.
- An “Opt Out” program that allows an applicant to avoid the additional $375 fee by self-identifying street improvement design requirements and the need for a street improvement plan.
- SDOT commitment to revamping its processes to allow for a 72-hour turnaround on screening plans for review.
- IDT coordination process for phased permits will be developed.