HBA/Denver JTF Mtg Notes * A Lot of New Information you will want to read!*

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HBA Denver Builders/Developers:

Thank you to all the representatives of the 7 builders/developers present at the meeting today.   
These notes are a re-cap for you all as well as to those who could not attend.  Please read – there are several improvements and changes as recent as the last 24 hours you should be aware of!
HBA/Denver CDP Meeting Notes/Overview
Wednesday, January 24,2018
Meeting started at 8:37 am.  
*Please note that there are brand new efficiencies and processes started with the City as soon as tonight and over the last 24 hours.
*Also, please let me know if you’d like a copy of the new forms for Submittal Requirements for Master and Type-Approved (TA) Projects – otherwise this information is online at www.denvergov.org/DS
*This information will also be shared to HBA Government Affairs Committee and Permit Committees
Denver City Staff
  1. Brad Buchanan
  2. Evelyn – Deputy Director
  3. Chad Kenney – Service Performance
  4. Jill Jennings – Deputy Director
  5. Scott Prisco – CBO
  6. Paul Pressor – Performance management/counting work flow and process
Builders in attendance:  
  1. Jackson Design Build
  2. Thrive Builders
  3. William Lyon Homes
  4. Koelbel
  5. Forrest City
  6. Larsen Development
  7. KB Home
  8. HBA of Metro Denver
Reviewed performance improvements (since 2015)
  • Reduced back logs considerably on time (between 83%-100% with reviews by category)
  • Power of data they are now using as a management tool to hold people accountable on a weekly basis has been a big improvement.
  • Median days late for late residential reviews under 1 day by end of 2017 reported.
  • 43% reduction in number or project logs requiring 4+ review cycles
  • The permit counter has improved; now an appointment based system. It took almost a year to institute it live and not create more problems. 
    • Still take walk-ins (down to 25 min)
    • Appt. (under 10 min wait)
    • Log-in down from 4+ hours to these shorter times
    • Can walk in and pick up approved plan from shelf!  This is NEW.  Change in practice.
    • Plan review and inspections
The Customer Experience
  • Tracking our experience right at the counter
  • Mid 90’s across the board for satisfaction from mid-to high 30’s
  • Trend line has improved 66% since early 2016
  • It’s how the City is determining what the dept works on
New Online Services
  • E-permits for quick permits
  • Apply and renew contractor licenses/certificates
  • Check building permit review status
  • Schedule an inspection
  • Order a meter release
  • Pay fees online
  • Print permits
  • Download approved plans
  • Note: tutorials and guides available for online services on e-permit launch page
  • Thru 2018 working on integrating ACCELA
  • Desktop full service: pay for permits
  • Mobile phone not full, but can schedule an inspection from the field schedule an inspection link available
Electronic Plan Submittal
  • To log in a residential project, email all materials and plans to  PlanReview@denvergov.org
  • Download the Residential Permitting Guide (PDf) and/or Master/TAGuide (PDF) for application forms and checklists.
  • See attachment that works with electronic submittals.
  • They are striving for all reviewers to be consistent. 
Permit Counter Upgrades
  • New queuing technology deployed Aug 2017
  • Digital signage and 3 additional stations remodeled
  • Appointment and online scheduling
  • Multi-family and commercial site devpt plans different and will be looked at soon but residential first focus.
  • This new form also includes commercial
  • City Looking for feedback as we use this application and guide
  • Signatures and seals – this new package is intending to outline process/internal and external all using the same document for the same expectations and easier submittal experience.
    • Signatures and seals 
    • Protecting architects and engineers for their creative documents (just need simple letters)
    • Soils
    • Every reviewer should be doing the same thing now. Let City or HBA know if you don’t experience this.
Development System Performance
  • City working on a comprehensive, process-based approach to structurally improving ALL development services (departments weren’t communicating well).
  • That’s why Chad Kenney was hired and works for Mayor directly.  
  • Technical Advisory Board of industry reps have been providing feedback on Development Services initiatives (the HBA rep is Rose Rodriguez, KB Home on this Technical Advisory Board).
  • Coordinates with external partners like Denver Water, Xcel Energy and Comcast and all 54 referral agencies met together and now are meeting as sub-groups.
Comments / Q&A from HBA Members and the City Staff
  • CPD Customer Survey available online
  • If they know about it, they can fix it.
  • A  lot of progress and constantly trying to innovate and improve.
  • Address permits just got online (public works) e-permits site, click on right of way tab. 
    • Why is it necessary when a property has had an address for 80 years and still needs to pay for a scrape fee if address remains the same. 
    • City liked the suggestion and will look at removing that.
  • Big improvement on review side
    • Fragmented parts in department is so needed. Most other muni’s are one stop shops.  We welcome the improvement changes. 
    • Can the city see how complete the builders and architects are with our process?  They hope that once they do such a good job on their improvements that someday they could track this on our end.
    • Recommendation of having SUDP merge with wastewater would be a big improvement to simplify. Seems like a double review. 
      • City staff indicated openness to this.
  • Tonight electronic pay by check 
    • Affordable housing offsets – online is not recognizing those right now, may run into a problem with that right now.  They are working on this.
    • Typically we get an estimate not a real invoice unless we actually go to the city physically. 
    • City staff will revisit – not yet resolved.  Multiple people touch this so it’s the counter compiling.  City trying to figure out how to make this smoother. Next big thing- they know it’s causing a 3-5 day longer impact.  They will prioritize now that other pieces are fixed.  
    • Site contact isn’t on the check list, but city would like that information near end of finish line for the info so they can improve possibilities of getting final invoice sooner.
    • Most homebuilders doing it in the beginning ok, but depends on projects. 
    • Contractor licensing now available online. 
    • City will re-group and report back who should be invoicing, etc. 
    • SUDP alignment for review times, intake, but Chad will try to make possible not having us navigate the two processes.  They want their fees before permit, so this is the fix staff will be trying to make more seamless.  
    • Address cards – we are suggesting better process. Challenge for master developers can’t provide addresses until plat is recorded. Request to permanent addressing prior to final plat (maybe at 80%) would help so that Denver Water can move forward. 
    • City working on integrating Denver Water into City process. Made some strides getting them directly into SUDP process. 
    • City has done trying to get assessors office involved sooner. Accessors office has a freeze 3 months during the year (April, November, December) where they don’t allow new parcels.  Has to do with tax issues.  City not sure, but will try to have conversations with them and work on this. Still a work in progress.
    • SUDP have conflicting direction from various depts.  Referenced our Xcel Advocate Program. City likes that idea and will look at implementing. 
    • Email CBO and Brad if residential plans are asked to have repeat review comments. It’s like a whole new review.  Why not get all the comments the first time?  City wants to know if this is happening and if they are missing something. No partial reviews is the goal we are asking for. A new staff person is being hired and will help assist in this area. 
    • Inconsistencies in zoning.
    • Is there a list of who to contact/cheat sheet so we know who to call for help in all areas. 
    • Publically available org chart is being discussed if project coordinator isn’t able to answer and you can’t get anywhere. We don’t know who is in charge of what. City agrees. 
    • Why need an SUDP for a retaining wall? 
    • Members are really appreciative of the staff and permitting counter changes! More pleasant and civilized experience. 
Meeting adjourned at 10:38 a.m.
Please let me know if you have any comments, concerns AND let me know if you are happy with the improvements. 
I will be working on another meeting with CPD staff likely this summer. 
Click here to view the Community Planning & Development Annual Report presentation(1MB pdf)
Chérie Talbert
HBA Senior Vice President &
Executive Officer Metro Housing Coalition Political Committee
office:  303-778-1400 
direct:  303-551-6734 
9033 E Easter Place | Suite 200 | Centennial CO  80112


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