Kansas City’s Planning and Development Department (CPD) is rapidly reducing review and response times despite a significant increase in applications because of several key changes to the process.
The City has doubled the plan review staff and hired or promoted 28 total employees, including four permit writers, four planners for the Development Management Division, two Land Development field inspectors and one registered engineer for the Land Development Division Support.
To further reduce response times, the City now also allows for third-party consultants to perform reviews of land development applications and a third-party inspection option for sanitary sewers, storm sewers, streetlights, traffic signals, asphalt construction, concrete construction, minor infrastructure, and maintenance inspections. Read the full guide.
“We’ve heard concerns from small businesses, the development community, and residents alike about difficulties they face navigating development review and approval processes,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas. “The changes announced today will make it easier to build housing and open or expand businesses in Kansas City. This is another important step forward in our efforts to make Kansas City the best city in the region and country to live, work, and build a business.”
“Economic development is a priority for Kansas City, and we understand that we can make it even more attractive if we improve the review process and incorporate their feedback as we move forward,” said City Planning and Development Director Jeffrey Williams.
Other process improvements include:
- Assigning a dedicated reviewer/staff member to each application from beginning to end (where feasible) to ensure consistency of feedback
- Investing in the City’s “Development Concierge” team to provide customer support and/or answer all process questions both before applications are submitted and at any point during the review process
- Automating Zoning Compliance Letter approvals, resulting in less staff time needed and less wait time for customers
- Additional education and support for applications that have a high number of errors and resubmissions to ensure applications are ready for full review
- Finalizing a public dashboard to show data related to review times that will include application review times and volumes; inspections timing and volumes; and goals for review times
- Coordination of inspections across different departments (e.g. water, fire, health, etc) to be done concurrently rather than consecutively
These changes continue building on improvements the planning department began making in recent months to streamline the development review process. A few successful highlights from November 2021 to May 2022 are:
- 50% decrease in average residential permit review turnaround time (3.4 days to 1.7 days)
- 67% decrease in average commercial permit review turnaround time (5.4 days to 1.75 days)
- 38% increase in the total number of permit applications month to month
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