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Housing program » Streamlining the development process

Expedited Permitting Process

Elgin, Kane County

Developed by City officials as an internal standard of performance, this expedited permitting policy simplifies the construction process for residents and developers. For larger-scale developments, this can translate into significant cost savings, potentially allowing for price reductions on the final residential or commercial product.

Goal

Expedite and simplify the permitting process.

Target

Property owners, developers and contractors

Financing

No additional cost associated with this policy, besides the standard fees for building permits, zoning and/or planned development approval.

Success

City permitting takes an average of only two weeks.

Lessons learned

Streamlining local permitting can be an important component of a municipality’s affordable housing agenda and attractiveness for private development. By providing predictability, the City can leverage cost savings as a way to negotiate additional affordable homes.

Program background

For contractors, developers and property owners, the costs associated with getting local planning and zoning approvals can be significant, mainly due to the time it takes to obtain review and approval of development plans. The City of Elgin has minimized these costs because its permitting process takes an average of just two weeks from standard review to occupancy permit review. Developed by City staff as an internal standard of performance, this expedited permitting policy makes it easier for developers and residents to schedule contractors and construction work. For larger-scale developments, this can translate into significant cost savings, potentially allowing for price reductions on the final residential or commercial product.

How it works

City staff, including a planner and permit control officer (and associated staff), serve at the permit counter to review and approve a number of smaller proposals immediately. Examples of these over-the-counter approvals include fences, decks, sidewalks, patios, swimming pool construction, driveway resurfacing and, additionally, temporary uses and graphics. Larger projects that require detailed review are taken for review by the Plans Examiner and zoning staff and turned around within ten business days. The plan review and approval process may be extended past the two-week (10 business day) standard when a certificate of appropriateness is required and the plan must be reviewed by the City’s Design Review Committee, which meets twice each month. In some cases where zoning relief needs to be provided through a conditional use review or planned development, the plan must then be reviewed by the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission with final approval granted by the City Council. Plans requiring additional review include those for properties that are located within one of the city’s two historic districts, or ones needing rezoning, variances or Planned Development approval. The process of review and approval before the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission and subsequently the City Council takes an average of 60–90 days.

The City is currently in the process of setting up a new review and tracking system using electronic cloud-based software developed by Salesforce. The City hopes that the system will help unify all functions of development, code enforcement activities and review, further streamlining the process.

Contact

Department of Community Development, City of Elgin
847-931-6004, elgindca@cityofelgin.org, www.cityofelgin.org

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