If a person wanted to open a new junkyard, transfer station, or similar use , regardless of size, in my city this is what they would have to go through:
1. pre submittal meeting with the building department to discuss and submit drawings and plans
2. provide a title search to prove that they own the land
3. a public hearing with the special land use committee
4. a public hearing with the building department (for the zoning)
5. the special land use committee makes a recommendation to the building department, who issues a decision on the land use. In many cases, the decision is to deny.
6. appeal to the ZBA
7. obtain a permit from the state department of environmental quality
8. obtain inclusion on the county solid waste management plan
9. obtain a license from the consumer affairs department
10. obtain a permit from the county air quality agency
11. obtain a permit from the city environmental quality agency, who requires that they perform at the least a Phase I environmental assessment.
12. appeal if any of the above are denied
13. there are also fire marshal and engineering reviews that I don’t know anything about.
I am sure that I am missing a few steps, the process is very ambiguous and it has never been written down. A while ago an old man wanted to operate, from what I could tell, a legitimate business that was needed in the community. After going through the committee that I sit on (and waiting for 3 months for our decision), we informed him that our approval was conditional on getting approval from everybody else. The entire process, if done completely, would take him years to complete and a great deal of money. And as a consequence, these businesses rarely obtain full compliance with the law.
I am not sure if all of this is done because every agency wants to put their 2 cents in, or if it is intended to discourage these types of businesses. We are not an affluent city, we are a poor old industrial rust belt city, and these businesses perform an important role. Does anybody have a similar problem? The involvement of so many layers of government (state, county, many city agencies) makes streamlining the review process very difficult. Has anybody come up with a process that includes all of these levels of government?