Council has made some progress toward quicker issuance of building permits. I have been pushing for these changes for over a year and we are seeing some results.
Some building plans have to be prepared by an architect (multi-family or commercial). After the plans are submitted for a building permit, the city plans examiner can take weeks to review the plans. Now, there is a process in place where the architect can certify that the plans meet all city codes and requirements. This skips the plan review and saves weeks for the builder. Prior to the certification, the architect has to meet with staff and demonstrate knowledge of the city codes.
With help from our state legislators, there has been a change to the requirements for some residential remodeling. No longer is there a requirement for townhouse plans to be executed by an architect or engineer if the remodeling does not involve load-bearing walls.
We are also working on a process to allow commercial tenants to get a building permit without an architect if there are no structural changes to the building shell. This would allow a business to do its interior improvements much quicker and cheaper.
By the time you read this, I believe we will have passed some amendments to the zoning code. These changes will allow a property owner to request a change of zoning without knowing exactly what business may end up on the property.
For example, an owner might request a commercial zoning for possible use as a hotel or an office building or a combination of retail/condominiums. The owner is not sure who might buy the property.
The public would be advised of the request and all the possible uses. City Council could approve the change of zoning with multiple use possibilities or the Council could limit the use.
The owner could then market the property knowing he had the zoning for certain uses. This saves time and money and still allows complete public review and input.
My ultimate goal is to see Flagstaff with a reputation of having fairly stringent building guidelines but that the process is simple and quick. In other words, we are welcoming to new business and not discouraging. FBN
Jerry Nabours is the mayor of the City of Flagstaff.