City council was updated on the progress of development permit approval improvements by Pat Ross, the manager of land and building services, at the Aug. 2 meeting.
Administration is in the process of implementing improvements to the development permit application review process “as recommended by the 2019 DAP (developmental approval process) program review,” read the administration report.
The DAP service was completed with the goal to develop “best practices” for serving the public, increasing efficiencies in process and reducing liabilities through changes to existing protocols and systems, Ross told council.
The review also addressed current organizational structure of the department and existing permit fee structure.
“The expectations of development have changed significantly over recent years in Whitehorse being more evolved and comprehensive, a focus on affordable housing, and climate mitigation,” said Ross to council.
The development industry is changing year by year, said Ross, and the DAP review recognizes challenges with DAP process but there’s also an opportunity to find improvements.
In the administration report, the DAP review made 17 recommendations divided into three categories;
- DAP cost recovery;
- DAP staffing and organizational design; and
- DAP processing.
Some of the recommendations are not immediately implementable, said Ross, but the recommendations were divided into the three categories to use as a “guide on implementation for improvements to the existing DAP process.
Councillor Dan Boyd, who joined the meeting via phone, questioned Ross on how administration can better communicate with the development community.
“For whatever reasons we’ve been having difficulties consulting with this industry,” said Boyd. “Sometimes we get to the point where we have new material that they’re not aware of and new requirements that they’re not aware of.”
Ross said administration sends reports targeting the right stakeholders but acknowledged consultation can be tricky.
“It’s a bit of a challenge identifying who exactly those folks are,” said Ross. “There’s lots of different people that fall into the world of developer.”
Mayor Dan Curtis commended the administration for their work on the DAP review.
“I have talked to several people and they’re quite pleased with the consultation work being done,” said Curtis.
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