Boosting Economic Development

By Maureen Mespell
By Rachel Martin

June 25, 2012 Updated Jun 26, 2012 at 3:02 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The City and County will soon be making improvements on how to better attract businesses for economic development.

In an effort to streamline the development permitting process, the City-County Joint Permitting Board hired an outside consultant share how Fort Wayne and Allen County can better attract businesses to boost economic development.

“The whole reason for the Permitting Committee is to make it easier to develop in Allen County and Fort Wayne,” said Roy Buskirk, Chairman of the Permitting Board.

The consultant from Clarion Zucker in Denver, Co, shared results Monday night. He suggested revising zoning ordinances so they are easier for the public to read and understand, merging City and County ordinances, and expediting the entire permitting process. Other suggestions included shortening the appeal and approval processes.

“These results are just the start of the process. We have a lot more to go,” said Buskirk.

Buskirk says perhaps the most significant suggestion is using software, called Accela, where builders, developers, and architects can submit their plans. Buskirk says the Permitting Board has already hired a company to build a website using the software.

“We’ll be the second county in the state of Indiana in which you can submit plans and everything electronically. This is a real big step,” he said.

The software is currently being tested and Buskirk says the site should be up and running by July.

Buskirk says some of the changes will require public hearings and then follow protocol through the different governing boards and Plan Commission to be voted on.

“The initial stage is where we’re at now. The different recommendations will have to go through various committees before any of the changes are made.”

Another public meeting sharing the results will be held Tuesday, June 26 at 9:30 a.m. in the Omni Room on the Garden Level of Citizens Square.

For a summary of the consultant results go here.

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