City of Long Beach streamlining the business of ‘doing business’

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Long Beach Development Services announced this week the reorganization of the City’s plan check, permitting and inspection services, which is expected to reduce redundancies, customer wait time and permit fees.
“Streamlining the business of doing business is the goal of the Long Beach Development Services Department,” Foster said. “We’re making opening a business here straightforward and sensible. By reducing costs and simplifying the process, Long Beach becomes an even more desirable location for business and job creation.”
The reorganization is key to the City’s strategy to grow and strengthen its business community by removing red tape and being smarter with its resources to make Long Beach even more business-friendly, according to a press release issued by the City on Tuesday.
The reorganization was accomplished without a budget increase and benefits residents, businesses and the City of Long Beach as a whole. Businesses get to open their doors earlier and start selling goods and services. The increased economic activity generates more tax revenue, which funds vital City services, according to the release.
As part of the Fiscal Year 2012 Government Reform, fire and health plan check, permitting and inspection services have been merged into the Development Service process. This consolidation eliminates overlapping reviews and separate approvals from multiple departments. These efficiencies resulted in a targeted reduction of 15 percent in fees.
The reorganization also provides more consistency and timeliness for customers. Problems get resolved quicker, and customers get more standardized responses and are happier with the service. Customer-service ratings at the Development Permit Center have risen from 60-percent positive feedback in 2010 to nearly 90 percent in 2012.
Tracy Ames, owner of the newly opened Red Leprechaun restaurant and pub, praised the new Development Permit Center process for helping her through the plan check, permitting and inspection process, which can be complex due to the many factors involved, including water, fire, health, building, planning, business license, public works, etc.
“The counter experience was great. Having the right people in this department helped me to understand the process, and saved me time and effort,” Ames said.
Additional benefits for residential and commercial customers include:
• Customers with simple construction projects can obtain plan review on the same day of their visit to the Development Permit Center on the 4th floor of City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.
• The service counter was reorganized to reduce wait time. Customer service representatives greet applicants, provide information about the development process and guide them through the necessary station points at the Development Permit Center for their development.
• New brochures provide step-by-step guides through the permitting process for various types of businesses, including Retail and Restaurant.

The Development Permit Center is open Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 4:30pm, except on Wednesdays, when it opens at 8:30am. Appointments are encouraged; e-mail lbds@longbeach.gov or call (562) 570-6194. For more information, visit lbds.info .

Source: City of LB

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