At its regular meeting this past Tuesday night, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners heard an update from Assistant County Manager Leslie Johnson and LUESA Director Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi about the status of an ongoing effort to improve the permitting and inspection operations of the Code Enforcement division.
Johnson told commissioners that the process to address efficiency issues in the department was underway in six areas:
Independent Review of Plan Review & Inspections: The County is in the process of hiring an independent consultant to review industry complaints about turnaround time and inconsistencies with Plan Review and Inspections. A separate review is being conducted by the City of Charlotte into potential improvements in the planning and development process. Status: Consultant to be hired in March; Review scheduled for completion by October.
Creation of a Select Committee by the Building-Development Commission: The BDC is in the process of creating a special subcommittee comprised of industry representatives and Commission members to evaluate potential process improvements in plan review, permitting and inspections. Status: The BDC is expected to discuss the Committee formation at its next meeting on March 18th; the group is expected to complete its work by May.
Creation of a Customer Service Center: Another committee, of which REBIC is a member, is continuing to look at opportunities to improve customer interactions both through the Code Enforcement website and at the permit counter in the Hal Marshall Building — both of which will be redesigned in the months ahead. In addition, the Department has just hired a Customer Service Manager to help address issues in this area. Status: A new Customer Service Center in the Hal Marshall Building should be completed by July or August.
Review of Quality Control Data: An effort is underway to review existing County data and determine the level of inconsistency that exists between Plan Review and Inspections. Status: To be completed by May.
Redesign of Code Enforcement Website: A comprehensive review of the entire County website is currently underway to make information more accessible and automate a number of basic permitting processes. Status: The County hopes to have the website improvements completed by December.
Improve City/County Collaboration: The County is creating a series of stakeholder Focus Groups to review the development and building permitting processes that require the involvement of both the City of Charlotte and LUESA, with the goal of identifying opportunities for improvement. Status: Focus Groups should be established by the end of May.
REBIC will continue to work with Mecklenburg County staff and the Board of Commissioners to find ways to improve the plan review and inspections process, and will keep you appraised of our progress.