Editorial: Breaking a bottleneck
Until the economy improves significantly, developers arenít likely to be pounding on Salisburyís door. But when they do come calling, theyíll find one part of the permitting process significantly less cumbersome and time-consuming than in the past.
Thanks to a new local ordinance, the city now has authority to approve most water and sewer extension permits. Previously, those permits had to go through state agencies, a process that added considerable red tape and delays. By saving time, developers can save money, and city planners and engineers can work more directly with developers to facilitate approval and iron out problems.
Given the benefits of having more local control over permitting, you might wonder why more municipalities donít acquire it. However, the state doesnít grant it easily or quickly, given the engineering and environmental regulations that still must be maintained. It took the city of Salisbury five years to gain approval from the Department of Natural Resources and N.C. Attorney Generalís Office. (Talk about your red tape.)
That represents a lot of effort and personnel hours, but it will be worth it if developers and city officials can work together to process permits more speedily without compromising standards or safety. As city officials noted, the permitting bottleneck has been a major sore spot for developers doing business with Salisbury. While the permitting and approval process may need further streamlining, this is a step in the right direction.