In the last two planning positions I have had, there were two quite different processes for development of properties.
In one, they had a process they called "Site Plan review", any commercial development, whether it was a small addition to an existing property, a redevelopement of an existing site, or the development of an empty site, one had to proceed through a full staff review and presentation before the Plan Commission (appointed citizens) before building permit.
In my present job, we have a typical "as of right" process that if you meet the requirements of the Zoning Code (no variations) and don't need a subdivision, special use, land use variation, PUD, rezoning, or PUD/SU amendments then you could go straight to building permit application.
Now I think the Site Plan review process was way too much and imposed too much burden on the property owners and has greater potential for being hurtful to businesses. I once had to go through this whole thing for a new pumphouse on an 18-hole golf course, really unnecessary. This process may be ok for small, slower developing munis (less then 50,000 pop.), but would be impossible for large munis (more than 50,000 pop.)
The "as of right" process is much easier to apply and much less burdensome on the property owner.
What is everyone's views/experiences?