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Thread: Working together (departmental coordination)

  1. #1
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    Working together (departmental coordination)

    Hi all, I'm new to the community and a recent regional development undergraduate. Right now I am interning with the Historic Preservation Dept. of the City of Columbia in SC and have come up with a problem I am sure many of you deal with.

    How can you foster better communication between Preservation and Design Review, the Zoning Department, and Inspections? There is virtually no dialogue between Preservation/Design Review and Inspections especially. Its especially frustrating to the property owner because often times an inspector and the Design Review Board can be telling them exact opposite things to do.

    I was wondering if any of you had experience in good communication between departments. Do any cities that you know of handle building and fire inspections differently when the buildings fall into design review/preservation districts? Any observations on the subject would be helpful.

    Thanks,
    Taylor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Where Valley Fever Lives
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    Well....

    Training sessions between offices in your department.

    People need to outline what it is they want at your Dev. Review Meetings.

    Talk to each other and have a clear understanding of the marching orders and direction from Commission or Managers.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SilverKey01
    Hi all, I'm new to the community and a recent regional development undergraduate. Right now I am interning with the Historic Preservation Dept. of the City of Columbia in SC and have come up with a problem I am sure many of you deal with.

    How can you foster better communication between Preservation and Design Review, the Zoning Department, and Inspections? There is virtually no dialogue between Preservation/Design Review and Inspections especially. Its especially frustrating to the property owner because often times an inspector and the Design Review Board can be telling them exact opposite things to do.

    I was wondering if any of you had experience in good communication between departments. Do any cities that you know of handle building and fire inspections differently when the buildings fall into design review/preservation districts? Any observations on the subject would be helpful.

    Thanks,
    Taylor

    i can't resist...sorry

    welcome to the world of planning!

    actually, the best thing to do is be the Planning Czar and at least have all the department staff working for you, so you can at least make them coordinate -

    but if you can't do that as an intern, another option is to force them to coordinate - hold a meeting of all the decision makers like The One had posted above - with the applicant there

    also if Design Review is a regulatory authority, check to see what level their authority is - if they approve something, as long as it otherwise meets the zoning ordinance or building codes, the building inspector has to give a permit

    on fire inspections - you have to make it seem like it was their idea all along...

  4. #4
         
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    Funky Town, CO.
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    When we get applications proposing changes in the older parts of town the historic preservation specialist gets a set of plans to review. For structures outside of historic districts or are not individually designated they can make suggestions. We have meetings with applicants, historic preservation, fire, building inspections, planning and other departments when needed. We have even walked over as a group to a local business to discuss possible changes to a 130 year old structure. I often use the historic preservation specialist as a design resource for infill projects. At least they have some formal training in design and architecture. I also go to most of the Historic Preservation Commission meetings to answer any planning and zoning questions they may have and act much like a staff member. So, get on a your community's referral list for development applications, go to any design/concept review meetings that planning/engineering/ building inspection may have and ask a planner to come to your meetings as well. Its hard to break old habits that these department may have followed for decades. Try to find some allies in these other departments. Show some interest in their field and learn their concerns. It will help when you voice the concerns of historic preservation to them. It may come to a point that only department heads can make these changes but as an intern you can ask without risking too much. Good luck!

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