Survey in works on permitting
By Paola Iuspa
Prompted by what he terms "total frustration," Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas said he plans to survey 3,500 developers and general contractors in an effort to speed building permitting by the county.
"The permitting process is not working," he said Tuesday. There are "a lot of delays. I constantly hear complaints from the industry."
The permits are required for new building and additions to buildings.
Mayor Penelas said a more effective process could prevent companies from opting to build elsewhere.
"Companies are leaving the county because of permitting problems," he said.
Permitting lags far behind applications. In September the county got 40 commercial construction applications, taking 64 days to process the only one it approved.
It got 383 residential construction applications, issued 25 permits and averaged 11 days to process them.
Those are vast improvements on November 1999 when commercial permits averaged 103 days, residential 68.
Results of the survey are to be unveiled at a town hall meeting on March 14.
Business investments, the backbone of the county's economy, require faster and more efficient permitting, the mayor said.
Last year figures show non-residential construction permits topped $1.3 billion, residential exceeded $1 billion. To date this year non-residential permits surpass $1.2 billion, residential nearly $1.1 billion.
Juan Mendieta, the mayor's spokesman, said the survey which is due before Christmas is in part the result of a builders' summit Mr. Penelas presided over a year ago. "This was a recommendation that came out of it."
The survey's outcome "will help shape polices that will continue to improve our building permitting process," Mr. Penelas said.
Details: (305) 375-5071.