COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Alternative Engineering Review Pilot Program Report

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Expedited Engineering Review of final plans

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Graham, Brooks

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:  November 14, 2007

 

ACTION:                INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:              INFORMATION:  X

 

ATTACHMENTS:   No

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

On September 13, 2006, the Board, at the recommendation of the Development Review Process Task Force, approved a two year pilot program designed to simplify staff review and approval of final engineering plans.  To address concerns that the pilot program have well-defined criteria, the review checklist was made very detailed, with a strict format of plan content and certification. Additionally, it was agreed that six month updates would be provided to the Board throughout the pilot program to verify it was working as planned.  The pilot program was initiated on the County website on October 3, 2006.  The first six month update was provided on April 4, 2007.  This is the second update, one year since the program’s inception.     

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal Four:  Effectively Manage Growth and Development.

 

DISCUSSION:

This pilot program was originally proposed by staff as a way to improve consistency and reduce staff workload by reducing the need for numerous resubmissions as applicants sought to meet requirements.   For the development community, the benefit of this program was seen as a way to reduce costs by reducing the time required to gain plan approval.   As with the previous review period, the development community has shown very little interest in this program.  Below is a summary of submissions for review;

 

 

1st Six Month Period 10/3/2006–3/8/2007

2nd Six Mont Period 3/9/2007–9/5/2007

Submissions for expedited review

3

3

Submissions for regular review

241

220

 

In each case, County engineering review was completed within a week of submittal.  Of the three plans reviewed in this period, one was approved, an erosion control plan in which County engineering was the only approval authority.  In the other two cases, though County engineering review is complete, final approval waits on other agencies.  Even for the previous six month period, one of the 3 plans has yet to be approved for the same reason.

 

There have been no comments on the program this period.  Previous comments can be seen on the website forum (http://exprevprocess.blogspot.com/). 

 

The board raised concerns in its previous discussions about compliance with regulations during inspection and construction in addition to design.  One plan has reached the construction stage.  That is the first approved plan; Birchwood Place in Crozet.   There has been no measurable difference in the construction process, nor any plan related issues. 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

None estimated.  While this process reduces review times, it is noted that the County has not charged separate fees for engineering reviews.  Thus, while it may cost the County more to have a plan receive three or four reviews, no additional fee is paid by the applicant for those reviews.  Whether additional fees should be charged will be discussed as part of a comprehensive study of development fees anticipated to come before the Board soon.     

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

This is an informational update and no action is needed.   The next update will be provided in March 2008.  

 

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