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January 16, 2003
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Darl Naumann, Economic Development Coordinator, 441-7547

Mayor takes Action to Streamline Business Permit Process

As a follow-up to Monday's adoption of impact fees, Mayor Don Wesely today announced a two-stage initiative to streamline the City permitting process to facilitate business expansion and recruitment. Wesely is working with the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development (LPED) on the streamlining project.

"Now that impact fees are adopted, we have an opportunity to bring the City and the development community together to streamline the permitting process for developments," said Mayor Wesely. "One reason the permit process has become so complicated and time-consuming has been the negotiation process for developments. The new impact fee system, which was recommended by a Land Use Roundtable in 1995, will replace those negotiations.

"This allows us to simplify the cumbersome process that businesses must follow to expand or relocate. The new process is mutually beneficial it will be better coordinated, will save time and will make it easier for businesses to know what they need to do."

Wesely said the two-stage initiative begins with an internal review of the permitting process called the Economic Development Internal Coordination Committee. In step two, the findings of the internal review will be presented to a Regulatory Reform Roundtable consisting of business, development and civic leaders appointed by the Mayor to make recommendations on reforming the regulatory and permitting process.

"Encouraging economic development is extremely important for Lincoln,"said Mayor Wesely, who is a co-chair of LPED. "Streamlining the permitting process is part of our overall strategy to facilitate the growth of the City. Making the permitting process simpler and improving coordination between the departments will facilitate business expansions and job creation." The Mayor designated Darl Naumann, Economic Development Director for the City, County and the Lincoln Electric System, to lead the effort.

Key goals of the internal review will include:

  • Identifying which processes are priorities for the City departments involved Planning, Public Works and Utilities, and Building and Safety.
  • Improving customer service to businesses and their representatives.
  • Establishing an initial point of contact with the City for significant economic development projects.
  • Arranging preliminary project conferences for major projects.
  • Providing one point of continued contact for the customer through the project review process to ensure that schedules are maintained, interdepartmental issues are coordinated, problems are solved and the project is proceeding in a timely manner.
  • Coordinating public/private partnerships.
  • Providing customer outreach, information and education.
  • Establishing and maintaining better communication with the business community.

The members of the Coordination Committee are Allan Abbott, Public Works Director; Mike Merwick, Building and Safety Director; and Marvin Krout, Planning Director. The Regulatory Reform Roundtable, to be appointed later by Mayor Wesely, will include representatives of the development community, neighborhoods, the legal profession, businesses, engineers, architects, LPED, realtors and homebuilders.

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