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County Executive

Posted on: December 12, 2019

Curran Cuts the Red Tape of County’s Complex Building Permitting Process Advancing Efforts

Curran Cuts the Red Tape of County’s Complex Building Permitting Process

Advancing Efforts of Blue-Ribbon Panel to Streamline Development Approvals

 

Panel reveals results of report and progress made to modernize process

another step to enhance economic development in Nassau County


Mineola, NY – To reveal details of their report, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was joined by members of the Blue-Ribbon Panel, a group of technical advisors and key stakeholders tasked with streamlining the Nassau County Department of Public Works’ (NCDPW) 239-f review and approval process. As part of her ongoing efforts to make Nassau County more business friendly and increase opportunities for economic development, County Executive Laura Curran charged the panel with making recommendations to improve the cumbersome process that has long plagued the development industry in Nassau County with challenges and delays.

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The 239-f process affects any development project that fronts a Nassau County road and has created immense challenges for everyone from mom and pop business owners, to large corporations, to single family homeowners. The process often adds significant time delays on development projects, resulting in substantial carrying costs being passed down to the end users (residents and commercial tenants). Economic impacts also extend beyond the property through lost wages to the local development sector.

“We are working hard to do business better in Nassau and we will continue to break barriers to break ground on smart development for the economic success of our County,” said County Executive Laura Curran. “I want to thank the members of the panel for digging into the details and creating concrete action items to rebuild, modernize and streamline this antiquated process.” 

“There was unanimous agreement that prior practices, causing delays as long as two years for an approval, was unacceptable and inhibit economic development in Nassau,” said Kyle Strober, Executive Director, The Association for a Better Long Island. “This bipartisan panel, with decades of experience, left no stone unturned during its examination of the 239-f process and put forth recommendations that should spur economic development and bring the process into the 21st century. I commend County Executive Laura Curran for addressing this issue head on and assembling a group of experienced professionals to examine this threat to our economy and propose changes that will strengthen the county.”

“Over the past several months, the team at DPW along with the panel members have committed to finding solutions to the many challenges and pitfalls of this outdated, cumbersome system,” said Kenneth Arnold, Commissioner of DPW. “The recommendations solve four main problems: dedicating staff for this important operation, utilizing technology, bettering communication and disconnects between municipalities throughout the process. I want to thank my team for their hard work.”

"I am proud to continue to support strategic initiatives that will help to bring strong economic growth throughout Nassau County, help residents and business owners cut through the red tape of the permitting process and save taxpayers money,” said Nassau County Legislator Laura Schaefer. “I look forward to seeing the new and improved process put into place as quickly as possible."

“It was a privilege to serve on this panel with my colleagues in government and representatives from labor, construction and business to understand the problems and devise solutions that will streamline the permit process for residents and business owners,” said Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum. “I am hopeful that our recommendations will be implemented as soon as possible so that Nassau County can become an even friendlier place to do business.”

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The Panel’s co-chairs Kenneth Arnold, Commissioner of DPW and Co-Chair Kyle Strober, Executive Director, The Association for a Better Long Island, presented details of the Final Report including a suite of technical and policy recommendations.

Action Underway

The Department of Public Works has already begun to implement several recommendations included in this report, such as the planning for a new Permit Center with dedicated staff. Thanks to the advocacy of Blue-Ribbon Panel members and with the support of the County Legislature, the County’s 2020 Operating Budget includes additional funding for DPW staff dedicated to the new Center.

NCDPW has also begun coordinating with the Nassau County Department of Information Technology to transition DPW’s review of development plans from paper-based to a more modern electronic-based review. The County Executive’s 2020 Proposed Capital Plan would support this technological upgrade, among other needs in the new Permit Center. In addition, NCDPW has begun organizing additional 239-f resources on the County’s website: www.nassaucountyny.gov/239f

Recommendations:

The final recommendations were compiled collaboratively between the Department of Public Works and members of the Panel. A timeline was also established to give an estimated completion date for each recommendation. Out of the twelve recommendations, the Department anticipates being able to complete the majority of the recommendations within the next six months. Three additional recommendations are expected to take six to twelve months to complete, and one recommendation may take longer than one year to fully implement. Several recommendations will require collaboration with other agencies including Nassau County’s Department of Information Technology (NCIT), the County Attorney (CA), the County Legislature, and all municipalities (towns, villages, and cities). Recommendations include:


Short Term:

  1. Establish New “Permit Center” in NCDPW
  2. Invest in New Software to Allow Electronic Review of Plans
  3. Further Develop 239-f County Webpage
  4. Create Threshold Criteria for Submissions to Exempt Certain Applications
  5. Bifurcate/Stagger On & Off-Site Approvals to Expedite the Start of Construction
  6. Begin Offering On-Site Meetings with NCDPW & Applicant Traffic Engineers
  7. Conduct Regular Outreach to Municipalities and Development Community
  8. Avoid Redundant Reviews to Save Developers Time and Money

    Medium Term:
  9. Allow Reviews to be Self-Certified by Licensed Professionals
  10. Recalibrate “Cost of Construction” Review Fee to be Proportional to Proposed Site Work
  11. Reconcile County Requirements with Local & State Requirements


Long Term:

  1. Procure Electronic Permit Tracking Software to Better Manage Projects


Next Steps: 

NCDPW will continue to work with the necessary agencies to implement all of the Panel’s recommendations in this report. The Panel shall reconvene within six months of this report’s submission to the County Executive, where it will receive an update from NCDPW on its implementation progress, including how the agreed to improvements have impacted 239-f review timeframes. The Panel agrees to work collaboratively with NCDPW to refine review time metrics on an ongoing basis.

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