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KJP

Development vs Cleveland City Hall

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How do we streamline and simplify the approvals process at City Hall??

 

 

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In 1976, the City of Cleveland issued NINE building permits. NINE. When we start to feel down about the progress of development here vs. other cities, remember how lifeless Cleveland was and how far it's come.

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I agree about the spread out nature of all the building/zoning/records related rooms on the 5th floor. I go through this process frequently. I see elderly home owners in there that must get permits to make repairs to their homes and see how confused and frustrated they get during the process. 

 

In general dealing with the a lot of city employees and departments is an unpleasant experience. Recently the firm I'm with gifted the city $30,000 to repair the road that runs in front of one of their properties and has had nothing but headaches ever since.

 

I don't have to imagine it because I see it everyday, but developers ask why put up with this when I can just go to _______ and have it much easier?

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The fact of the matter is that any city is a pain to get through, Cleveland is not unique in this sense. Try getting something through Beachwood or Chagrin Falls...

Edited by w28th

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I really think the quickest and easiest way to begin is for the City of Cleveland to revamp their 1995 era website. The amount of information/faqs/contact info/electronic forms you should be able to get online is almost endless.

 

But the current website is trash.

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Just now, Clefan98 said:

Would developers like a more stream-lined process? Absolutely.  Are they walking away from projects because of these frustrations? Hell nah.

 

Of course developers are walking away. It may not be huge developers of skyscrapers, but if you are a small business, an out of town business, or just somebody trying to fix up your house, the regulations and insanely confusing process stops people from making investments.

 

I sat on a historic design review committee in the City. To get something done in our district, you had to email a member of the district—a resident volunteer—and request a meeting. We were volunteers not staffers. There was no staff assigned to us. It was just a random developer emailing a random citizen to get our approval. If we missed a deadline or didn’t respond, we slowed down a developer. Our district worked well, but others? Projects could be stalled for months waiting for random joe neighbor to email back—and that was before the developer even entered city hall. The runaround is real and I had more than one developer say they would never work in the city again (and I never saw them again).

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50 minutes ago, CbusTransit said:

 

Of course developers are walking away. It may not be huge developers of skyscrapers, but if you are a small business, an out of town business, or just somebody trying to fix up your house, the regulations and insanely confusing process stops people from making investments.

 

I sat on a historic design review committee in the City. To get something done in our district, you had to email a member of the district—a resident volunteer—and request a meeting. We were volunteers not staffers. There was no staff assigned to us. It was just a random developer emailing a random citizen to get our approval. If we missed a deadline or didn’t respond, we slowed down a developer. Our district worked well, but others? Projects could be stalled for months waiting for random joe neighbor to email back—and that was before the developer even entered city hall. The runaround is real and I had more than one developer say they would never work in the city again (and I never saw them again).

 

How long ago was that? And are you talking about a district in Cleveland?  I've never heard of developer needing to email a resident to begin the process.  And most of my developments are in historic districts around the city.

Edited by Clefan98

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2 hours ago, KJP said:

Another opinion.....

 

 

 

Sam's not wrong, improvements can be made.

 

People should be aware of two things happening:

1. Cleveland is moving to an online permitting system next year.

2. Form based zoning will eventually be expanded city-wide. This will cut down on a lot of the red tape...However, rewriting the current zoning codes will take years, not to mention millions of dollars.

 

Project Summary

 

The City of Cleveland is seeking an accomplished, professional planning firm/team to complete the following tasks:

 

Assist the City in its effort to write a new zoning code. The new code will be easy to use, highly graphical and aligned with the City’s vision of

creating healthy, walkable and equitable neighborhoods.

 

Provide assistance in restructuring the City's zoning review processes.

 

Facilitate related public engagement efforts.

 

http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/assets/Cleveland_Form_Based_Code_RFP.pdf

Edited by Clefan98

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Streamlining is definitely the answer. Collaboration with other cities in that streamlining process is an even better answer. South Euclid is weeks away from beginning our roll out of a streamlined and combined process through CitizenServe. Contractors will be able to register, pull permits, submit plans, schedule inspections (we can usually have someone out within 1-2 days, if not same day). Not only that but businesses will be able to apply for permits and licensing, property owners and managers can register their rentals, submit payments and schedule inspections. All code enforcement will also be available online, including photos along with citations for the owners, inspection reports can be pulled online for the sales process, and complaints submitted. The best part though is we are rolling this out along side Lakewood, Cleveland Hts, Parma, Shaker Hts, and University Hts, with other suburbs waiting to join. Contractors for example will be able to register and pull permits for multiple cities all at once, instead of having to spend valuable time and money between different city halls. We are working to bring permitting into line with each other so as to further simplify the process.

 

There is nothing to be gained by making or keeping the process more difficult than it can be. Obviously the city should not work for and on behalf of developers, but it should be recognized that one can be good for one can also be good for the other. Based on the above post, its great to see Cleveland is starting to move in the same direction, but would be better if they were working with other municipalities too, instead of again going alone.

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That's great to hear and would make a terrific news story! ?


In 1976, the City of Cleveland issued NINE building permits. NINE. When we start to feel down about the progress of development here vs. other cities, remember how lifeless Cleveland was and how far it's come.

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5 hours ago, Enginerd said:

I really think the quickest and easiest way to begin is for the City of Cleveland to revamp their 1995 era website. The amount of information/faqs/contact info/electronic forms you should be able to get online is almost endless.

 

But the current website is trash.

 

A branding update in general would be nice. The City of Columbus rolled out a new brand and logo (https://brandcolumbus.com/) during the final years of Mike Coleman's tenure as mayor. This logo is not only being used by the city, but also a modified version by the tourism board. Destination Cleveland has done a wonderful job with the script logo - why wasn't that rebranding coordinated with city hall? And even some city subdepartments such as water, power, etc, have their own brands? It should be the same.

 

My experience with branding comes from exactly one marketing intro online class from Tri-C circa 2007, and I learned pretty clearly then - consistency is key. It ain't that hard.

Edited by mu2010
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On 10/25/2018 at 6:48 PM, Clefan98 said:

Cleveland is moving to an online permitting system next year.

 

I'll believe it when I see it...the same claim was made when I was an intern with city planning back in 2014.

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On 10/25/2018 at 4:24 PM, Clefan98 said:

Would developers like a more stream-lined process? Absolutely.  Are they walking away from projects because of these frustrations? Hell nah.

 

It's not even just the developers, it's people doing minor build outs, repairs etc that I'm more concerned about. The big developers have people (like me lol) that go down enough and know the process. The process of just submitting an application though can be confusing to someone who doesn't do it everyday. Even a posting in room 505 listing the steps to submit a permit application, including the reviews by planning and zoning would be helpful. It currently doesn't exist and would be so simple to install.

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Just now, Clefan98 said:

What's so confusing about choosing the correct permit, completing the app and dropping it off at city hall?  

 

http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/CityofCleveland/Home/Government/CityAgencies/BuildingHousing/PermitGuide

 

 

Clearly you've never gone through the process. They do make it look so easy and straightforward online though! 

 

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Just now, Clefan98 said:

^ Actually I have.

 

Your next criticism of the city will be your first. 

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In 1976, the City of Cleveland issued NINE building permits. NINE. When we start to feel down about the progress of development here vs. other cities, remember how lifeless Cleveland was and how far it's come.

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Just now, Clefan98 said:

^ Actually I have.

 

Well they've given me plenty of reason to complain. From lost drawings, to four week delays because they didn't know the ball was in their court and they were supposed to be doing something (their job), to having to get huge sets of drawings reprinted to be resubmitted because they lost them twice. Like I said I go quite often and the projects are relatively large so there is probably more room for mishaps there. But as one of the only city departments that provides a net positive to the City's general fund, it should run much better. And it does not run as smooth as they present it on their website.

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Just now, Clefan98 said:

^ Feel free to ignore my comments.  I'll criticize the city when they give me a good reason to do so.

 

Not only that, you get very defensive of Cleveland when someone shares a complaint based on their experiences. You really don't have to. You're not responsible for it -- or are you, MAYOR JACKSON! ?

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In 1976, the City of Cleveland issued NINE building permits. NINE. When we start to feel down about the progress of development here vs. other cities, remember how lifeless Cleveland was and how far it's come.

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Just now, Mov2Ohio said:

 

Well they've given me plenty of reason to complain. From lost drawings, to four week delays because they didn't know the ball was in their court and they were supposed to be doing something (their job), to having to get huge sets of drawings reprinted to be resubmitted because they lost them twice. Like I said I go quite often and the projects are relatively large so there is probably more room for mishaps there. But as one of the only city departments that provides a net positive to the City's general fund, it should run much better. And it does not run as smooth as they present it on their website.

 

Yeah, that's why I said developers would like a more stream-lined process. I agree with you. However, the process for Joe Smith to submit a permit for his new fence is quite simple.

Edited by Clefan98

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I do work all over the area.  Beachwood, Independence, Mentor, Akron etc.  Cleveland is hands down the worst.  I went a few weeks ago to pick up some certificates of occupancy (I'd been calling & asking for them for weeks) and finally drive down & park and the worker behind the counter could not get up from her game of solitaire, I'm dead serious, and says "look in that box" where there was a couple dozen certificates.  I could've grabbed the wrong ones, nothing was logged or signed for, etc.  What a joke.  A summer co-op could create a spreadsheet program that logs in permit applications, tracks the review, determines who's responsible for review & signoff at each stop (planning, engineering, building review, fire, etc).  That way anyone can quickly search and see what the last stop is for the application and who's desk it's been on for too long.  But it would actually create accountability so forget it.

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Yeah, Municipal ineptitude wouldn't surprise me, but I am willing to bet there was some ineptitude on the part of AT&T.  But it's always so easy to blame someone else.

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I've been involved with this first hand, and no, AT&T is not lying about how hard Cleveland is to deal with.  We all know that poor neighborhoods are poorly served.  That's not much of a counterpoint when these people are trying to install better service and they're getting jerked around.  And it's like this every time.  I wish more entities would step forward like AT&T to let Cleveland's people know how bad the business climate is here-- and why.  If they're treating Ma Bell like this, imagine what it's like for smaller players with no pull.

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