Improving Business Development Opportunities. Cary Council/Staff Retreat, January 19, 2013. introduction. Ben Shivar. Overview of Session. Defining the “New Normal” for Development * Case Studies Survey/Feedback From Customers Council Feedback On the Customer’s Experience *
Improving Business Development Opportunities Cary Council/Staff Retreat, January 19, 2013
introduction Ben Shivar
Overview of Session • Defining the “New Normal” for Development* • Case Studies • Survey/Feedback From Customers • Council Feedback On the Customer’s Experience* • Current Improvements Underway • What Others Localities Have Done • Brainstorm on Improvements* • Prioritizing Improvements* • Next Steps *Planned Council Discussion
New Normal • Uncertainty About the Future (Conservative Funding and Investing) • Understanding of Not Expecting Growth to Return at the Conditions that Existed Before the Economic Crisis • Less Available Land • More Competition From Nearby Localities • More Investment in Existing Development and/or Challenging Sites (Reuse/Redevelopment of Sites and Structures and Infill Development) • More Residential Density to Address Market Demand • More Home Occupations/Less Demand for Office Space • Push Back on Government to Reduce Costs and Regulations • Complexity (Not Many Things Are Simple/Straightforward) • Regulations May Limit Development Opportunities
Indicators of the New Normal • Development Plans • Permit Activity • Revenues Impacted By Recession • Capital Impacts • Near Future (variety of tools) • Unemployment History(Cary good place to be)
Near Future • Slow economy continuing to impact rate of growth in new tax base, sales tax revenues, and other population driven revenues • Existing revenue sources likely not to show significant growth for new initiatives • Two cents tax increase for debt service in FY2014
Case Studies (Role Play – Mock DRC) • Construction of a Convenience Store and Restaurant On a New Site • Conversion of An Existing Home Into a Specialty Retail Business
Proposed Convenience Store and Restaurant • 5 Acre Site at Intersection of O’Kelly Chapel Road and Green Level Church Road • Currently Zoned Residential 40 • Proposed Rezoning To Mixed Use District • Adjacent to an Existing Subdivision • Proposed 3,360 Square Foot Convenience Store and 3,400 Square Foot Restaurant with Drive Through
Conversion of Home to a Business • 1000 Square Foot Home On Dry Avenue (Town Center) • Zoned Cottage Business and Outside the Business Improvement District • In Swift Creek Watershed • Proposed for Specialty Retail
Comparison of Development In Cary With Other Triangle Communities • Site and Building Construction Costs Are Generally The Same Except for The Traffic Study Costs and The Associated Improvements • Architectural Standards Add Some Extra Cost to Construction and May Sometimes Prevent Construction (Corporate Proto-Type Not Allowed) • Development Plan Review Time-Frame is Similar to Other Triangle Communities; However, It is Too Long (4 Months vs. 1.5 Months in Southern Pines) • Land Cost May Be Higher Than Other Jurisdictions (15%) • State Building Codes Are the Same Throughout the State
Survey Results/Feedback • Triangle Community Coalition Customer Service Survey • Development Review Committee Survey • Inspections and Permits Customer Service Survey
Survey Results/FeedbackDevelopment Review Process • Overall • High Marks for Professionalism, Accuracy, & Helpfulness (Much Better Than Other Jurisdictions) • Need to be More Flexible (Apply Common Sense) • Rules Are Too Strict and Too Many
Survey Results/FeedbackDevelopment Review Process • Feedback For Improvement • “Any minor revision review can be very expensive and the process is also very lengthy. If two reviews are required, a minor revisions will take at least seven weeks from submission. This is very problematic when a field change is needed.” • “Minor alterations submissions need to be implemented. Some projects don’t warrant the need for a long drawn out process. Its also good for small business starting up.”
Survey Results/FeedbackDevelopment Review Process • Feedback For Improvement • “The overall process was time-consuming and far too picky.” • “Over-regulated and particularly with regard to the Comprehensive Transportation Plan – over-reaching and it catches small projects with massive unintended burdens.” • “The rules are very strict and unbending and are applied in ways that do not reflect a common sense approach to development.”
Survey Results/FeedbackDevelopment Review Process • Feedback For Improvement • “Architectural Guidelines are extremely limited for such a progressive community. Everything is starting to look the same.” • “The biggest impediment to developing in Cary is the unknown requirement for off-site traffic improvements. The burden falls on the first developer who comes along at an inopportune time and triggers the road improvement.”
Survey Results/FeedbackDevelopment Review Process • Feedback For Improvement • “Regulations need to be ‘business friendly’ and encourage development because that is what creates jobs and pays the bills. When regulations become excessive, it drives up costs and frustrations, resulting in less development.” • “Common sense approach to development.” • “A sounding board for disputes.” • “Please do not stray from the idea of trying to find a reasonable/compromise solution in certain situations.”
Survey Results/Feedback Inspections and Permits Process • Launched a customer satisfaction survey at the end of July 2011 as part of an ongoing effort to improve the ways we deliver services. • Overall we continue to get high marks on the survey and feedback continues to be positive.
Survey Results/Feedback Inspections and Permits Process • Feedback For Improvement • “Online services could be a little better so we can schedule any or all inspections online even if they are out of order.” • “There needs to be a better scheduling process.” • “Nailing down inspection time windows several days in advance would be an improvement.” • “An email update of inspector’s rough schedule should help customers to be on-site when the inspection happens.” • “Customers don’t want to have to stay home the whole day waiting for an inspector to show up when they feel like it. Should be able to request morning or afternoon inspection.”
Survey Results/Feedback Inspections and Permits Process • Feedback For Improvement • “The permit review process needs to be refined and streamlined.” • “The permit review process is way too long.” • “I wish the turnaround time was quicker.” • “Site plan review and building reivew need to work more closely together.” • “A lack of understanding of new provisions in the 2012 code has caused some field issues.”
Challenges and Opportunities Brainstorming • What Are the Major Challenges For Business Development In Cary? Regulations?Coordination?Process?Service?
What The Town Provides To Facilitate Business Development • Development Review Committee (Staff) • Free Preliminary Application Review Held Weekly • Electronic Plan Review for Site/Subdivision Development • Review and Approval of Development Plans (meetings to go over review comments) • Evaluation and recommendations of Director Modifications • Evaluation of All Rezonings Applications • Case Manager – Facilitate Reviews
What The Town Provides To Facilitate Business Development • Staff Meetings with Non-Developer Applicants (business owners) to Walk Them Through the Process and To Explain Regulations (Sometimes Provide Site Plan Layouts and Building Permits Advice) • Expedited Development Review Process on a Case-By-Case Basis (Needs to Be Larger Development – Job-Focused) • Reduced Requirements For Improvements For Smaller Projects
What The Town Provides To Facilitate Business Development • Improved access to ‘Click-2-Gov’. Customer access to Online Building Permits, for scheduling inspections, reviewing records, etc… • We also now track all building permitting review steps and allow customers to see expected “due dates” or completion dates (including specific staff review comments) via the Town’s online permitting website.
What The Town Provides To Facilitate Business Development • Express Plan Review Option for Commercial Plan Review • After conducting a Customer Satisfaction/Feedback Survey on the existing Express Review program in the spring of 2011, we began offering Express Review twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning at 1:30 pm. • Customers schedule specific appointments times. • Specific staff members have been designated to help customers through the process should they have any questions or concerns. • Review Staff (I&P, Planning, PWUT, & sometimes Wake County) meets with customers (owners, designers, architects, engineers) to review plans together during the meeting. • Customers typically to receive permits within 3 business days of the meeting.
What The Town Provides To Facilitate Business Development • Created several Permitting & Inspections Guides for our Customers to better explain processes (currently working on others) • Created “Downtown Inspections Team” (TCAP Zone) with regard to building inspections. • Reviewed/implemented new Water/Sewer Development fee structure based on Town of Cary billing/usage. • Updated Town’s ‘Starting a Business’ webpage.
What The Town Provides To Facilitate Business Development • Reviewed and updated reivew turnaround times (some where shortened) and Created Process Flowcharts (for permitting/inspections processes)
What The Town Provides To Facilitate Business Development • Currently exploring software options for entire review process with features to enhance workflow management (see illustration) as well as web based customer interfaces to allow following projects through complete review process.
Business Improvement District Updated