PACDC’s activities have culminated in $180 million to date in new resources for affordable housing and neighborhood economic development.
City Releases New Report on Development Process
On January 25th, 2010, the Nutter Administration released the “Philadelphia’s Development Permit Review Process: Recommendations for Reform” report on the City’s development permitting process review project. The goals of this endeavor are as follows: a. yield a quicker and more efficient permitting process; b. make permitting results predictable; c. improve customer satisfaction; d. attract outside developers and investors; and e. increase investment and development in Philadelphia. By achieving these goals, the project will succeed in making the development permit process simple, efficient, consistent and cost-effective.
In 2008, the Administration began studying ways to improve the onerous development permitting process which was unpredictable, time-consuming, and costly for anyone trying to do business in the City of Philadelphia. Under the old process as many as 14 City agencies may process a single building permit application. Due to the absence of a coordinated permit intake system, developers had to physically take their applications, step-by-step to each authority, and each had their own set of procedures and requirements. Based on the Building Industry Association (BIA) of Philadelphia’s 2004 report “If We Fix It, They Will Come,” the City began reviewing the processes of 10 key areas identified by developers and contractors. One of those areas was better use of technology to make permitting quicker, more receptive and more reliable.
With $250,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation, the City partnered with Clinton Rubin Management Consulting to undertake the project of improving the development permitting process. There are three major phases of the development permitting process review project. By October 2009, the City completed Phase 1, a comparison of Philadelphia’s process with best practices in 33 peer cities including Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Jacksonville, FL; Milwaukee, WI; New York, NY; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, DC. In December 2009, Phase 2 was completed under the guidance of Clinton Rubin Management Consulting and the project team. Phase 2 included an evaluation of the current permit review process was conducted and the software was developed in collaboration with the Department of Technology. Phase 3, the final stage of this process, which is already underway, is implementation of the recommendations including the creation of a permit wizard which would allow customers to interact with this process online. Phase 3 is scheduled for completion by June 2010.
The City has already begun to implement the reports recommendations, taking steps to decrease processing time, increase inter-departmental cooperation, and improve customer service. As a result, the process is clearly spelled out including every approval the City issues, when they are applicable, who reviews them, and what fees are associated.
A downloadable copy of the complete report is available at www.pacdc.org.
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The Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund has raised nearly $80 million since September 2005 to expand housing opportunities for more than 6,000 Philadelphia families.
The CDC Tax Credit Program has fostered 35 partnerships between businesses and non-profits that is providing $60 million in new funding for CDC neighborhood economic development.
PACDC’s Member Services programming builds capacity of CDCs through technical assistance and training, sharing of best practices, networking, and promotion of the local CDC industry.
The local CDC industry generated $3.3 billion in economic impact in Philadelphia during the past 20 years.
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