FORT WAYNE – City and county officials are at the halfway mark in an 18-month process to align their laws and to expedite the land-use permit process.
Members of the Joint Permit Oversight Committee unveiled new technology Thursday to be used in the permit process.
The group has been given the task with improving online permitting, reducing redundant city and county laws and hiring managers and consultants to make sure the improvements are made.
The bipartisan city-county committee spent more than a year discussing permitting problems with the business community before forming the committee. What the panel found was that some projects must go through up to 20 city and county departments.
The committee hopes to simplify that process and provide a one-stop shop for permitting information, said Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, who is also a member of the Joint Permit Oversight Committee.
The project consists of four key components: enhance technology, increase and improve customer service, employ an ombudsman and codify city and county ordinances. Two of the four components are completed or near completion, Peters said.
The new Fort Wayne Allen County Site Development Portal, sitedevelop.acfw.net, will be a clearinghouse for information on permitting and allow companies and developers to apply for permits online, among other features.
A link to the portal is available at www.allencounty.us and www.cityoffortwayne.org.
The portal is being used by Public Works, Right of Way, Building Department, and Department of Planning Services, with additional departments and services to be added.
In August, the board hired Craig Yoder as its new ombudsman to help mediate disputes that arise during the process. Peters said training is ongoing for the customer-service aspect of the plan in both the city and the county.
Aligning and codifying all those ordinances will take a little longer.
This process will align the zoning ordinances so that the county’s more closely matches the city’s and vice versa, Peters said. That process should be completed by June, he said.
The project was originally projected to cost $1.4 million, and to date, the committee has spent $543,113, Peters said.
In addition to Peters, other board members are Allen County Council members Larry Brown and Roy Buskirk; Fort Wayne City Councilmen Russ Jehl and Tom Smith; and Fort Wayne Deputy Mayor Mark Becker.