City working to improve time frames for permits

Processing times for building permits are going down, city managers say - tri-city newS FILE PHOTO
Processing times for building permits are going down, city managers say
— image credit: tri-city newS FILE PHOTO

The poor turnaround time for building permits at Coquitlam city hall has resulted in the department responsible having to turnaround its image.

On Monday, division managers told the city’s council-in-committee they have made significant strides in coping with the influx of development applications.

Last October, the backlog meant permit bids were not processed for an average of 62 business days for large commercial projects; as of this month, the turnaround is less than half that, at around 30 business days, the committee heard.

The time for reviews of single-family residential permits were also long last summer and fall, averaging 46 business days; now, it’s about 15 days.

Building permits approvals manager Jim Bontempo said efforts are being made to get the processing down to 10 days.

“The key is to maintain it when we reach it,” he said, noting the division meets weekly to evaluate performance.

The division’s new strategy started two years ago after a consultant was brought in as part of a cyclical review. He made 21 recommendations that included organizational changes, and more customer service and proactive problem solving to handle the unprecedented high levels of permit and inspection activity in the city.

Coun. Selina Robinson said with the number  of bids coming before council, she doesn’t anticipate building growth to slow any time soon.

Other Coquitlam news:




Also on the building permits front, council next month is expected to consider a new policy that regulates show home construction.

Under the proposal, which council-in-committee approved Monday, developers would be issued a building permit for a show home in new single-family subdivisions as long as:

• erosion and sediment controls, and slope stabilization are in place;

• roads are sufficient for emergency vehicles and lead directly to a municipal road;

• the show home main entrance is located within 90 m to an active fire hydrant;

• sanitary, storm and water services to the show homes are installed;

• and a letter of undertaking is signed accepting full responsibility for any infrastructure damage.

The decision comes after some Burke Mountain show homes had insufficient services and developers complained of the city’s lack of consistent policy.



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