Can the City Speed Up the Building Permitting Process?

One of Keith Amemiya’s stated goals is to speed up the building permitting process. Like others, Amemiya seems to believe that this is a crucial part of addressing the homeless and affordable housing issue. I’ve never heard him really delve deeper into the reasons for this, but the cost of housing and homelessness seems to stem largely from a supply problem. Currently, I believe we’re far from reaching the projected housing needs as well, and the slow permitting process for building is often cited as a big reason for this.

But the city make the permitting process more efficient, or has it reached a ceiling on efficiency? Based on your experience in government, do you think this is feasible? Consider processes in your own work place, particularly the processes that seem slow. Do you think there are viable solutions to make it faster?

Earlier in my career, I felt there were many services or processes that could have been made more efficient. For example, with regard to repairs, a process that would often be inefficient, I felt like if you could get each person in the chain to complete a repair to sit down in a room, you could identify where the process bogged down, and probably find ways to remove or reduce the problem. While I think this is still true, to some extent, I now wonder if the main issue is motivation, or lack thereof. That is. the main problem might be the desire make the process run efficiency. If one person in the process is not motivated to do this, that can slow the entire process down. For example, generally, I would say a request for a repair ends up the desk (or inbox) of someone in that chain. The person may not be motivated to act on the request and push it to the next step. (The person also might be extremely busy as well.)

If motivation is the issue, can the Mayor find a way to address this? I think it might be possible, but I’m less optimistic. I’ll try to share some possible ways of motivating workers, but I’d like to hear from you guys about this topic

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