FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – The City of Fort St. John has released the actions they are taking on recommendations from the Development Review that was conducted.
Council had directed staff to to have a 3rd party review done of Development Services policies, processes and procedures.
The Request For Proposals was awarded to Tantus Solutions Group in January 2015. The final report was then received and presented to Council in May of 2015. Since that time, staff has been implementing the recommendations that were brought forward.
The recommendations were implemented into 5 categories. They were:
- Communication and Collaboration
- Bylaws, Zoning and Standards
- Council Decision Making
- Staff Training and Leadership
There were 14 specific recommendations. They are as follows:
- Improve application process – One-window service offering, Enable online applications, Enable online fee payment, Enhance online resources, Establish early decision points for applications, Build milestones into the development process.
- Improve the circulation process – Use electronic platforms for status tracking, Establish a system for file management.
- Review options for improving flexibility in the timing of security releases – The subdivision and development servicing bylaw is currently under review by staff and a future recommendation to Council on security release will be made. Current release of security is as per the bylaw and expedited for effective customer service.
- Accelerate speed of engineering information requests – Internal turnaround performance measures have been addressed by staff to ensure timely outsourcing
- Establish writing and process documentation standards – Staff are reviewing Official Community Plan for 2016. The Zoning, Building, Subdivision Development and Serving Bylaws along with policies and regulations will be included in further reviews to ensure clear, concise and congruent language is applied, Process flowsheets and software solutions have been implemented to address this recommendation
- Implement single points of contact – Staff assign a development review manager (Building Inspector, Engineer or Planner) to guide it through the review process and ensure consistency. The development review manager is the sole point of contact for the application.
- Improve the communication process – Predevelopment meetings established, Owner and applicant contact requirement for development process, City joined Fort St. John Construction Association.
- Change the requirement for fence permits – November 23, 2015: Bylaw 2248, 2015, compliance with provisions for fencing still required as per the Bylaw, however, fence permits are no longer issued.
- Consider implementing more neighbourhood plans – Planning objectives should address the following topics: Land Use, Transportation (road, transit and active network components), Water, sanitary sewer and storm water management, Parks and Recreation, Community Facilities, Economic Development, Environmental Stewardship, Social and Cultural Development.
- Implement the Citizens First Toolkit to benchmark citizen satisfaction
- Implement a performance management framework.
- Develop a planning consultant procurement plan – The City currently has a standing service agreement with Urban Systems and has also sought out assistance for specific applications from specialized consultants.
- Proceed with the planned organizational structure changes.
- Establish a succession plan – The organizational structure that has been implemented has improved the ability of staff to develop and transition to other positions.
Development Services Review Implementation– Conclusions
- Every recommendation has been acted on, most actions are fully operational, some are waiting on year end so that things like the scorecard and auditing can be completed.
- Also revamping of the City’s website will complete a few of the other tasks.
- Overall processes have been overhauled, revamped, implemented and automated with electronic filing and process control in place.
- This process review and the implementation of the recommendations has been a very productive project.
The City says overall the process has gone smoothly.