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Thread: Planning Office procedures question?

  1. #1

    Planning Office procedures question?

    I am the Planning Aide (read peon) in our P&Z office. Besides being a 3 hour a day employee I, also, have the least authority.

    My question/problem is that after an approval is granted by the Planning Board the applicant is notified shortly there after by mail. (Most of the voting on the applications takes place at the conclusion of the meeting and most times the applicant has left and does not know the results) We send a copy of the Decision sheet and a form letter explaining the requirements for Final Signature of plans, plats, signs, or what have you. When we speak to applicants after the fact they explain they did not understand the notification letters or misinterpreted them. Our Zoning Officer (read PrimaDonna) has resisted revising these notification letters.

    What I want to know is what has your office found to be effective? We have an inordinant amount of applications expire due to the fact that the applicants do not understand that the decision sheet is not the end of the line.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    A few ideas, depending on individual circumstances:
    Discuss it with other staff (who may convince PrimaDonna)
    Bring it up at a staff meeting (embarass PrimaDonna)
    Attach a note to the form letter (go around PD)
    Personally call the applicant (ditto)
    Remember this lack of customer service in your next job

    Notices and forms must be understandable to the general public. I think there could be a "due process" discussion if they are not.

  3. #3
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
    Oct 2001
    Middle of a Dusty Street
    Do you have the spare time to actually craft the changes to the notification? Many times the people who are not affected (Prima Donna), will be too lazy to fix something, so they won't.

    Something simple like a message in bold at the top of the letter stating that a response is required with a phone number for questions might do the trick. Then, the people who you work for can take credit for solving a problem...

    It's kind of like wetting yourself in a dark suit, you get a nice warm feeling, but no one knows you did it.


  4. #4
    Thanks for the replies!

    I actually did make changes to the forms and am sending them throught the staff for comments. I'll let you know what the reaction is.

    We have a very small office the DOD, the Reseptionist, the CEO, the Zoning Inspector, The Zoning Officer, and the Planning Aide (Myself). So everyone knows who does what and rarely does anyone successfully steal credit. But, everyone knows who messes up as well.

    The DOD and the ZO both don't want us "holding the Applicants hands". The CEO and myself think it should be considered part of the process. I do as much as I can but usually get found out. Not that that stops me but it does make for some good ammo for anyone who wants to "Get me". Oh well, this job don't pay the bills I still have another job if it gets to be to much headache.

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