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Thread: Site plan review timelines

  1. #1
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Site plan review timelines

    Assuming its not a crappy project that needs multiple revisions and there is not much opposition- how long does it take in your jurisdiction?
    Last edited by hilldweller; 02 Mar 2006 at 2:30 PM. Reason: want to post poll but wasn't able to

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Small ones can be before the commission as soon as 2 weeks from the official submission date. The catch is that we have a pretty low threshold for what developments need a special use permit.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    Small ones can be before the commission as soon as 2 weeks from the official submission date. The catch is that we have a pretty low threshold for what developments need a special use permit.
    Do you process the SEUs first or concurrently?

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Varies depending upon the quality of design work, and the number of state/federal permits required (our Planning Board requires all permits in hand for an application to be accepted for review).

    Generally, 3-6 months for projects with good design firms, 9-12 for those with less attentive design firms (or PB expects that site plans approved be the construction plans for the site, and review the engineering in great detail. Our application checklist is 18 pages long).
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  5. #5
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    2 months minimum

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    Our development process is handled totally administratively. No Planning Commission or other board review is required.

    A good, simple project can realistically be reviewed in 3-4 weeks. I have had some knuckelheads take more than a year.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mallen
    Our development process is handled totally administratively. No Planning Commission or other board review is required.

    A good, simple project can realistically be reviewed in 3-4 weeks. I have had some knuckelheads take more than a year.
    I'm not sure I could deal with this because when you have a PB it takes a lot of the pressure off staff.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    Do you process the SEUs first or concurrently?

    Our process for SEUs is simply to apply our comprehensive planning process and strategic solution skills to . . . OK, what are SEUs?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    Our process for SEUs is simply to apply our comprehensive planning process and strategic solution skills to . . . OK, what are SEUs?
    Sorry... Special Exception Uses, Special Permits, etc.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    I'm not sure I could deal with this because when you have a PB it takes a lot of the pressure off staff.
    Probably so. But it tends to work out ok here. The regulations speak for themselves. If a development is following our adopted prescriptive standards, then there is really little room for subjective alterations.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Speaking from the other side of the fence as someone who prepares site plans, I usually check on progress of the review after 30 days and again at 60 days as a courtesy to our clients. Most places get the review done by 90 days, and I never push for anything quicker (unless my client is on my a$$, but even then I explain to whoever's reviewing that the pressure is not coming from me).

    The worst place I deal with is Illinois EPA. Everytime you check, the person reviewing your project has quit or been reassigned and the new person doesn't have a clue where your project is.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    One to two weeks, administrative unless a conditional use, then could take 5 weeks. This assumes the developer has been in preliminary contact with us, and the plans are complete. 23 months is the record for one with incomplete plans/belligerent developer

  13. #13
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    It depends:

    If it is straight to permit, then about 2-4 weeks (just for Planning's review)

    If it has to go before the Plan Commission or ZBA, then about 30-120 days, average.

    Quote Originally posted by mallen
    Probably so. But it tends to work out ok here. The regulations speak for themselves. If a development is following our adopted prescriptive standards, then there is really little room for subjective alterations.
    here, here - if your development regulations are good and directive, and the elected officals trust staff, I've never truely understood the need for mandatory board review for permitted uses/developments.

    [developerese]It is just an unecessary delay.[/developerese]
    Last edited by mendelman; 02 Mar 2006 at 5:19 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  14. #14
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    The average permitted use: 1-2 weeks.

    The average permitted use w/ crappy design: 2-5 weeks.

    The average special use: 4-6 weeks.

    The average special use w/ crappy design: 4-10 weeks.

    I process over 150 different commercial/office/industrial permitted uses yearly.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    where i am:

    site plan--administrative only--min.6 months. And by the by a site plan should only be administrative and there should be no pressure on staff--either it meets regs or it does not.

    special use--6 to 8 months

    rezonings--12 to 18 months.

    I kid you not.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally posted by gkmo62u
    where i am:

    site plan--administrative only--min.6 months. And by the by a site plan should only be administrative and there should be no pressure on staff--either it meets regs or it does not.

    special use--6 to 8 months

    rezonings--12 to 18 months.

    I kid you not.
    Wow, Maryland appears to be worse than outer suburban California.

    In California, we review more than site plans-we also review architecture and landscaping plans, which can be subjective although subject to published design guidelines and zoning standards. We do not necessarily reject projects because we dislike the "style" of a building, the review focuses more on things like articulation of facades, enrtyway design, use of materials, etc.

    Minor Discretionary Review (paint scheme changes, minor additions, minor changes to the facade): over the counter or three days.

    Minor Development Review: staff level review with administrative public hearing: 6 weeks

    Development Review (Planning Commission): 6-8 weeks

    Zoning Ordinance Amendment/Zone Change: 8-10 weeks

    General Plan Amendment: 10 weeks +-we can only do four GP Amendments per year (State law), so we have to "group" our General Plan amendments, which can delay projects.

    The biggest factor out there is the California Environmental Quality Act. The above timeframes assume no real environmental impacts, and a "Negative Declaration" is processed simultaneously.

    HOWEVER: IF IT IS A CONTROVERSIAL, BIG PROJECT, and a full scale "Environmental Impact Report" must be prepared, this process adds months to the review period.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    Special Exceptions & Rezonings - 5 months (with minimal issues)
    Special Permits & Variances - 3 months (with minimal issues)
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
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  18. #18
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    General Plan Amendment: 10 weeks +-we can only do four GP Amendments per year (State law), so we have to "group" our General Plan amendments, which can delay projects.
    Sounds like Florida. "Large Scale" Comp Plan Amendments are subject to review by the Department of Community Affairs and local governments are limited to two adoption hearings per year. Now DCA is requiring us to demonstrate financial feasibility using FIAM (Fiscal Impact Analysis Modeling- a real precise science ).
    It is one of life's funny ironies that such an unsosphisticated place as Florida has some of the most byzantine planning laws in the country.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    Sorry... Special Exception Uses, Special Permits, etc.
    In our case at least 2 months, but some go much longer

  20. #20
         
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner
    Generally, 3-6 months for projects with good design firms, 9-12 for those with less attentive design firms (or PB expects that site plans approved be the construction plans for the site, and review the engineering in great detail. Our application checklist is 18 pages long).
    We have a similar time frame. What is frustrating in our circumstance is our engineering dept. requires the equivalent of civil plans up front. This rub irritates we in planning as well as the applicant/developer. Our position is that conceptual drawings generally should be enough information for our Planning Commission to make a decision on a project. Civil plan documents are appropriate for the construction process. Most applicants do not want to prepare civil plans when the Commission could deny the project or amend the plans using conditions of approval that would require civil plan revisions. Staff conditions can be drafted to address any issue germane to their expertise.

  21. #21
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    ....HOWEVER: IF IT IS A CONTROVERSIAL, BIG PROJECT, and a full scale "Environmental Impact Report" must be prepared, this process adds months to the review period.
    Dude, I finished a project in the Golden State that took 7 years to get through the process thanks to CEQA. I was the third planner on that one. I finished another that took 5 years and two EIRs (second planner on that one).

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    Sounds like Florida. "Large Scale" Comp Plan Amendments are subject to review by the Department of Community Affairs and local governments are limited to two adoption hearings per year. Now DCA is requiring us to demonstrate financial feasibility using FIAM (Fiscal Impact Analysis Modeling- a real precise science ).
    It is one of life's funny ironies that such an unsosphisticated place as Florida has some of the most byzantine planning laws in the country.
    Gollly. I interned in Florida (Pinellas County (bleh!!!) and I was amazed at the detailed State review of local comprehensive plans.

    In California, however, we have State review of one element of our General Plan-the Housing Element. A sometimes excrutiating process I am going through right now, actually As part of our Housing Element process, the State assigns a "Housing Need Allocation" to each region, with the regional government divying things up among the cities andm counties. We then have to prove that we have enough land to accomodate, theoretically, our assigned "regional housing nneed allocation."

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