an aerial view of a small town from above

Homeowners, developers, and contractors all want the same thing — for the development approval process to be fair and predictable. 

To meet these expectations, your jurisdiction must create visibility not only on the front end, but through the duration of the project. Here are a few tips for making development more successful in your community (and, in turn, improving stakeholder experiences).

1. Engage Your Community


Making sure community members are actively encouraged to be part of your budget planning can help build trust

 and support (and help make sure that budget spend will positively impact the people who live in your local

 community). Involving community members and builders in your plans from the start will give them shared ownership of the project (and can even improve the end result).

Using a third-party provider for public engagement can be advantageous for many communities, as this partnership can help develop and provide detailed illustrations of development scenarios and design guidelines that clearly communicate the intent of your project. Likewise, this experience can help reach your community through the right mix of tactics to help inform community members about the intentions behind the project at hand.

2. Lead With a Strong Goal

An effective planning and zoning department is driven by a mission. Stating this mission (and repeating it often) helps keep you and your community running toward the same goal.

3. Collaborate Across Departments

When departments work in silos, it increases the chances of missed steps, delayed timelines, or even repeated work. By creating sightlines between departments, you can make your development process more efficient (and easier for everyone involved). Consider automations that can help improve transparency across teams and keep everyone on track.

4. Create Predictable and Transparent Workflows

A predictable workflow can help set expectations for your planning and zoning department and stakeholders throughout the duration of a project. When expectations are set appropriately (and workflows are accurately executed), you will spend less time fielding phone calls about permits, plan reviews, and inspections, and create time to serve your community proactively.

5. Build and Growth Adaptability

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to predict community demand trends. Being able to scale your department to account for surges in permit requests, plan reviews, and inspections is crucial to upholding the steps listed above.

Streamline Your Development Process

More than 1,800 municipalities in over 30 states have come to SAFEbuilt with their community development challenges. We mold our process to integrate with existing teams seamlessly, or we can suggest best practices to help improve current processes.

Whether you need help with plan reviews, inspections, or guidance on a new project, our planning and zoning department will pull together a team of industry experts who live in your community and know the area. Together, we can keep projects moving and deliver on your promises.

Custom and Collaborative Building Department Services