PLYMPTON– During the regularly scheduled selectmen’s meeting on Monday, August 22, the majority of the meeting was taken up by a presentation to board and committee members, along with town employees regarding changes to the building permitting process.
At the behest of Selectman John Traynor, a workgroup was formed several months ago to address what was seen as a haphazard “loosey-goosey” system of moving building permits through the various departments, boards and committees. Builders have even been known to wander Town House trying to get various portions of a permit “signed-off” on.
The workgroup recommended having a single focal person in the Building Department, in this case Kathy Wright, to be the designated permitting coordinator, who will move permits through the new process.
Further security was another recommendation of the board, and each permit application will now be assigned a master control number as it moves through the system.
A further recommendation is that boards coordinate their schedules so that delays aren’t introduced due to posting requirements or conflicting schedules. A permit application will begin with the Building Department at step 1. The application will be reviewed in a timely fashion by the Permit Coordinator, who will determine what boards, offices and committees the project will need to pass through at step 2. Step 3 involves a check to make sure all taxes are paid on the property by the Tax Collector at which point a control number will be assigned to the application. Step 4 will have the Assessors assign a street number to a parcel if it doesn’t have one. At this point the Building Department will review the application with the input of the Fire Department and the Highway Department (steps 5, 6 and 7).
If the project needs to be reviewed by the Zoning Officer or the Planning Board, that will occur next (steps 8 and 9), finally moving to the Conservation Commission and the Board of Health in steps 10 and 11. If all requirements are met, a building permit is issued. At any step, an affirmative response moves the application along to the next step, but a negative response sends the application back to step 1.There are some notable exceptions. Some minor projects, according to Building Inspector Tom Millias, do not need extensive review outside the building department. Other projects may receive early Conservation Commission or Board of Health review if they involve locations near wetlands in the first case, or septic designs, repairs or wells in the latter case.
The proposal was agreed upon by those present, many of whom had participated in the workgroup and it will be implemented on a trial basis beginning September 6.