As you will recall, the Town has conducted a Survey Monkey satisfaction poll of homeowners and their professionals who have gone through an application process from 2014 through the first quarter of 2016. The Town admits that “Overall, the results indicate that there is much room for improvement. Of the 43 respondents that provided an overall rating of the service received for the project, 20 responded that they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied and 20 responded that they were very dissatisfied or somewhat satisfied.”
Not exactly a glowing report card for the Town’s development process. The lack of participation is significant. We have herd from a number of COWs and consultants that they did not get a survey and some that did get it, did not realize the significance of the survey. Some did not trust it would be anonymous and were afraid to fill it out.
We are pleased to see that Staff is making some improvements as a result. They report they are taking the following small steps and are evaluating the permit process and submittal requirements with an eye towards time and cost savings.
• Eliminate the requirement for an arborist report in instances where a condition to protect trees within a construction zone would be the only need for one.
• Eliminate the requirement to survey setback locations when the approved structures are well beyond the setback line.
• Eliminate the requirement for traffic control plans to be signed and stamped by a licensed Engineer as part of Encroachment Permits.
While we applaud any improvement, they are not addressing the basic problems. For many years, COWs and their professionals have been telling COWncil that the system needs drastic fixes. If they truly wanted to fix this broken wheel, they would give a clear message that the policy is to be customer service first. Help the customer ensure the proposal meets actual code, not just what Staff or the reviewing Committee would like it to be. Eliminate long delays and multiple hearings and reviewers imposing their preferences on design. Institute processing timelines that must be kept by staff. Contract with a town architect to reviewing architectural plans, instead of Planners. Limit duplicative hearings. The ASRB Committee should be allowed only a one time review. After all their recommendations are merely recommendations and do not have to be met, it’s the Town Planning Director, Jackie Young, that has the final say. Minimizing the number of Committees which review a single project would help. Eliminate the ASRB entirely since it does not seem to serve a useful purpose.