A Straightforward, Practical Plan For Fixing The Building Department
The leaders at the Town of North Hempstead have finally acknowledged what anyone who has tried to get a building permit has known for years: The Building Department needs a major overhaul.
But instead trying to really fix the problems, my opponent – who has never once set foot in the Building Department -- is trying to package them in a pretty box, using terms like “user friendly.”
I’ve taken a different tack: I’ve spent hours meeting with the Department Commissioner and his top aide, and with homeowners, architects, contractors, realtors and tradesmen.
If elected Town Supervisor, here’s what I’ll do:
- Hire a minimum of five new plan examiners, funded by eliminating no-show, no-work jobs in other Town departments.
- Establish pre-screening meetings, where applicants can meet in advance to discuss their projects and get advice from the Town to minimize surprises and time delays.
- Assign one examiner to see through each application from beginning to end.
- Train intake personnel to check each application for accuracy and completeness on the spot and, if something is wrong or missing, to inform the applicant at the outset.
- Create an electronic file for each application, and scan all documents as soon as they’re submitted.
- Form an independent team to ensure quality and integrity.
- Fast-track relatively small projects requiring simple variances, where a homeowner could complete paperwork and submit applications without hiring expensive consultants.
- Constantly review codes and regulations, seeking feedback from design professionals.
Making the Building Department function properly takes more than photo ops, grandstanding and fancy slogans.
It takes hard work. The kind of hard work I’m prepared to do every day, if elected Town Supervisor on November 5.
Councilwoman Dina DeGiorgio