City of Fort Wayne and Allen County leaders today announced they will work together on a plan to develop greater efficiencies in their respective development permitting departments.

The city and county have received a grant from the Foellinger Foundation to conduct a study of the development permitting departments.  Development permitting affects all aspects of growth and economic development within the community.  Development permitting consists of processes for zoning, platting and site plan routing needed to develop residential, commercial and industrial land.

City and Allen County leaders believe steps should be taken to develop a one-stop shop for development that is not affected by governmental boundaries.  A one-stop shop would provide efficiencies for developers and residents.  The city and county each have their own development permitting function.  The study will look at the best ways to streamline the process, including co-location or merger of the departments.

“Excellent customer service is an essential element of good government,” said Mayor Graham Richard.  “By working together to improve the permitting process, Fort Wayne and Allen County will deliver a critical service more effectively and remove repetition and confusion as obstacles to our community'€™s prosperity.”

“As our community examines ideas for integrating government functions on a broad scale, we can learn a great deal from a pilot project such as this one,” said Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters.  “This project will yield immediate results by making local government more efficient and simpler for businesses and citizens to navigate.”

The study will cost approximately $70,000, including contributions of $10,000 each by Allen County and Fort Wayne.  Part of the project will include bringing in an expert from a community that has already combined its permitting functions to lend experience and help guide the process.  No precise timeline for the project has been established, but the grant guidelines require that it be completed within 18 months.