Site plan review team formed to ease process

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The city of Cape Girardeau has created a new site plan review team to review multi-family and commercial site plans, hoping that this concept will speed up the plan inspection process.

Before the team was established, site plans were bounced from desk to desk at various city departments in city hall. Now, a four-member team will meet about once a week -- or as often as necessary -- and the plans will be reviewed by all the various departments at the same time.

"We have already had our first meeting and we did three plans in less than two hours and all three were approved," said city inspections director Robb McClary, who started his post in early September.

McClary said the amount of time it took to review such site plans before the team was created varied. However, many complaints have been made to city council members in the last several years on slow service from the city's inspection department

He is hoping that this process will help change that perception.

Dave Figge, vice president of Artisan Contracting, which does work on industrial and commercial sites, said he has not had any major problems with the city inspection department, but he said anything that would help speed up the process is certainly welcome.

McClary said the city of Sebastian, Fla., had a similar team when he worked there as a city administrator.

"I know from my experience in Florida that a team concept was effective," he said.

The team consists of four individuals -- one will represent the fire marshal, while the others will represent the city's inspection services, engineering and planning departments. The team may be expanded on a case-by-case basis if other departments are involved in the proposed building project.

City manager Michael Miller said the site plan review could be rather complex, especially with overlaying ordinances involving as stormwater management, floodplain, zoning, right-of-way and driveway permits.

Pooling resources

"The big advantage of this team is the pooling of resources for a more comprehensive review, thus better ensuring compliance with the various ordinances of the city," Miller said.

A contractor applying for a building permit will submit a plan at the same time he applies for a permit. A plan review specialist in inspections services will review the building plans at the same time the site plan is being reviewed by the team, thus minimizing or eliminating additional review time.

Residential site plan review will not be affected by the site plan review team and will remain the sole responsibility of the inspection department. Site plan review for single-family homes and duplexes is much less complex, Miller said, and generally does not require additional permits, such as stormwater or grading permits.

The city's development team reviewed the idea of a site plan review team at a recent meeting and the proposal had the support of the fire marshal and the directors of inspection services, engineering and planning.

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