|Pasco County, Florida — Larry Daly, a local contractor and a long-time critic of Pasco County’s building permit process, is in a state of “shock and awe” after recently using the County’s new “Walk-Through Permitting” system. A permit that had routinely taken him over two months to obtain was completed in an hour and thirty minutes. Daly can hardly believe it.
“Over the last ten years it’s been an absolute nightmare to come to Pasco County to get a permit,” said Daly, who is Managing Member of Construction Management Services in Port Richey. “It was not uncommon to take 2-4 months to get a standard permit for a tenant build-out. Imagine my reaction when I walked into the Permit Office at 9:15 in the morning and walked out at 10:45 with my permit. It was a jaw-dropping experience.”
Larry Daly, who joined the Pasco Economic Development Council, a year ago hoped to get involved in making it easier for companies to do business in Pasco County. At the same time Pasco County began holding a Contractor’s Roundtable with local builders to fix some of the issues discouraging contractors from doing business in the County. Daly, who was once a tireless critic of the County Building Department, soon became a tireless participant in the Contractor’s Roundtable, along with Pasco EDC staff and several other contractors who decided to try to work with County staff to fix the system.
Tim Moore, Pasco County’s Chief Building Official, said the work of the Contractor’s Roundtable and his staff team helped make the following improvements:
· Started a residential accessory walkthrough service in the New Port Richey Central Permitting office that has averaged over 60 customers per workday.
· Established a walkthrough for small to medium commercial renovations, remodeling and permit revisions.
· Instituted an application courier system between satellite offices and New Port Richey that has equaled and often exceeded permit turnaround time compared to when satellites were fully staffed.
· Reduced residential permitting time from 30+ workdays to an average of 9 days including site and building plan review.
· Cut rollovers of building inspections from 724 in February to only 13 in June and 16 in July.
Daly noted that the changes that have occurred are a direct result of Michele Baker’s leadership since taking over as Pasco County Administrator. “She has made an immediate difference; even the attitude of front line employees has dramatically changed,” he said.
“A change in the permitting process was needed to continue bringing business to Pasco County,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “The Urban Land Institute noted it in 2008, and the Pasco County Commissioners and the County Administrator took their counsel to heart. But Michele Baker and her staff have amped it up a level with these impressive new strides. We are continuing to work with Pasco County to streamline the process. Easy, fast permitting is just one more reason companies should look at doing business in Pasco County.”