What your neighbors have to say about permitting

(This is the fourth in a series of posts about last week’s open meeting on zoning review. A group of residents and committee members who assembled at the Town House were asked five questions related to zoning. I’ll cover one question each day this week. Next up is the permitting process.)

If you wanted to build a deck, would you know how to go about getting the permits you need? How long would you expect the process to take? What if you were building a new 40,000-square-foot office building?

Residents at last week’s zoning meeting were largely in agreement that the process to obtain a building permit needs to be streamlined.

“It’s very disjointed,” said a resident who represents developers in town. “It needs to be streamlined so there’s less time between boards. I want to see good projects move faster.”

Referring to the length of time it takes to get a permit for a major project, another resident said, “Four years later, how many people are still interested in going to a meeting?”

“If you’re a homeowner in town and you don’t normally go through this process, there are no guidelines,” said a different resident.

But another resident cautioned that the town needs to be careful that they don’t streamline the process so much that they eliminate necessary checks and balances.

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