A faster, smoother planning permit process means starting your project sooner, helping you stay on budget, and potentially increasing your return on investment. Here’s how to take charge for a more efficient planning permit application experience.

Know The Requirements Inside and Out

Before submitting any planning permit applications, take the time to thoroughly understand the relevant requirements at the local, state, and federal levels. Regulations vary based on a project’s location and scope. Review zoning bylaws, building codes, environmental regulations, and other applicable rules to ensure your application is complete and compliant.

Pay close attention to any specific requirements like minimum setbacks, maximum height limits, density restrictions, parking ratios, and allowable uses. Many municipalities have design guidelines covering architectural styles, materials, landscaping and more. Environmental impact studies or historic preservation reviews may also be required depending on the site.

Oversights lead to rejections and delays, so take steps to ensure you understand what is expected.

Request a Pre-Application Meeting

Many municipalities encourage or require a pre-application meeting with planning staff prior to submitting plans. This informal meeting allows you to present your initial concept and receive feedback on potential issues or hurdles before investing heavily in detailed designs. This early substantive input is invaluable.

Come to the pre-application meeting prepared with a clear vision for the project and specific questions. Identify site constraints or complexities that could create challenges. Discuss factors like traffic impacts, utility needs, environmental concerns, and more. Planning staff can highlight specific areas of concern and provide direction on studies or additional details that may be required as part of a formal submission.

Identifying potential roadblocks early through a pre-application meeting can save significant time, costs, and future headaches. It also starts the process of developing a constructive dialogue with the entities involved in permit approvals.

Mind the Details

Always use the most current application forms as outdated versions may be rejected outright. Include all required supporting documentation like site plans, drawings, studies, surveys, calculations, and fees. Double-check that everything is properly filled out and labelled. Establish a single point of contact within your organization to streamline communication and keep records well-organized.

If the municipality accepts digital application submissions, be sure to follow any specific protocols for electronic submittals. Automatic submission checks as included with Archistar’s eCheck technology can also help prevent applications getting hung up on clerical issues.

Start Early and Stay Engaged

The planning permit process is often slow, especially for larger, complex projects that require multiple rounds of revisions and approvals from various agencies. Starting the application process as early as possible provides more leeway to accommodate any requested revisions or unexpected delays without throwing off critical construction timelines.

It’s also important to maintain open communication throughout the process:

  • Respond promptly to requests for additional information or clarifications.
  • Attend any public meetings and hearings.
  • Follow up on a regular basis to check the status and get a sense of the timeline for next steps.

A proactive, communicative approach can help facilitate reviews and keep things moving forward as efficiently as possible.

Assemble the Right Team

Having experienced professionals assist with the application process can be invaluable. Architects, civil engineers, land use attorneys, and permit expeditors who frequently deal with these procedures understand the potential pitfalls and can take steps to prevent issues before they cause delays or denials.

Permit specialists provide expertise in areas like zoning regulations, environmental studies, traffic analyses and more. Attorneys can ensure proper due diligence is followed and representation is available if any legal issues arise. The upfront investment in a strong team helps move applications through a complex, multi-layered process as smoothly as possible.

Understanding and satisfying all requirements from the outset puts you in the best position to obtain approvals with minimal delays. Your local planning department can also request a demo of eCheck by Archistar to discover how it can streamline the permit application process.