MISSOULA, Mont. – Beginning in July, the City of Missoula implemented a new review process to streamline building permits as it works to bring more homes to market.
It starts with a new checklist required to ensure all documents are included in the application the first time, reducing resubmissions and speeding up the process.
Before the checklist, the average turnaround time was about eight weeks, said Cassie Tripard, land use supervisor for the city. However, this varies a bit depending on the completion of the application.
According to Tripard, over the past 13 months, 45% of the permits they reviewed were resubmissions of applications reviewed one, two, three times previously.
The objective of the checklist is to reduce this percentage.
“That should actually get people through faster,” Tripard said. “Time is money. People need to get to work, get built on the ground. We will assess this over time and get feedback, but ideally shorter permit times should result in reduction in housing costs.
The checklist applies to residential projects.
It requires candidates to label page numbers of specific documents that are often missing and allows staff to quickly locate items during the exam.
The checklist is currently in pre-launch. Starting in August, a resubmission fee will apply for incomplete applications.
This fee will cover the direct cost of staff time needed to review applications, Tripard said.
Going forward, the city plans to roll out a business checklist and unify coding to continue to speed up the process while trying to meet housing demand.