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Operational Process Improvements

We have an ongoing practice of improving our operational processes to better meet the needs of our customers and our community. These improvements aim to meet the following goals:

  1. Improve Service Quality
  2. Improve Customer Experience
  3. Reduce Processing Time
  4. Maintain Consistency and Transparency
  5. Reduce and Manage Staff Workload

If you have specific suggestions for additional improvements that you think would improve our services, please contact our Ombudsperson.

Below is the list of process improvements that are pending or currently in progress. For a list of improvements that have been implemented:

View Completed Process Improvements

Pending or In Progress Process Improvements

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NumberDivisionCurrent PracticeProposed PracticeStatus
A001AdministrationAt Cost accounting using outdated information (10 years old)Document update for At Cost billing cycle-Planning and Engineering coordination. Make sure cash flow processes and deposit requirements are clear and adhered to between planning, engineering.Pending
A002AdministrationAt Cost internal accounting processes not adequateStreamline At Cost processes to make more efficient (cut lag times for billing)Pending
A003AdministrationOutdated and inconsistent Refund process revampedAll refunds to be routed to Accounting first to be logged, monitored, tracked (with effort to minimize paper).Pending
A004AdministrationMove refund process to electronic Create fillable online form to facilitate this.Pending
A005AdministrationContracts managed inefficientlyOrganize and create a process to train managers and help supervisors understand their role as a contract managersPending
A006AdministrationQueueing system software improvements & trainingMove to different interface (customer engagement center). Increased training and understanding for all customer service staff (every division). Messaging to community about the tool and how to use it. Training for community.Pending
A007Administration24 hour policy for response to phone calls and emails is not followed as a standard practiceStart reporting on how often complaints are logged (Operator responsible). Update to a 48 hour return policy. Message internally and have staff update current voicemail settings.Pending
A008AdministrationRotation of staff through customer service cubes (creates inconsistencies of processes and information)More in depth training for all staff who cover cubes. Lessen the rotation by having less staff assigned to cubes. Each discipline should have and use the same resources (central location of information) so we are delivering the same message. Improved access to information for customers online (kiosks in the front reception area)Pending
A009AdministrationNot providing all pertinent information up front before a project begins (for customers)Develop wizard tool to provide information on permit process prior to application.Pending
A010AdministrationElectronic submittals processed on the floor (customer service area)Create workstations outside of main customer service area for focus and customer service Pending
A011AdministrationPaperless Office - Scanning plans at issuance (Building Permits)Goals: 1) stop creating new files in the files room; 2) reduce travel of paper back and from front of office to back of office; 3) create efficiencies with current staff processes regarding copies made, filing of paper, etc.Pending
A012AdministrationRecruitment Process- Currently we have some written instruction, but it can be adjusted and updated to function more clearly and efficiently. Streamline the recruitment process with a structured workflow. It will be available on our intranet page to better guide managers/supervisors through the process. In Progress
A013AdministrationMOU Update- currently there are various rules per bargaining unit that vary and are difficult to track and remember. Create an FAQ document per bargaining unit to better guide staff and supervisors. This will aid how hours work, time accruals, and various other HR related common issues. In Progress
A014AdministrationEssential Functions Worksheets- currently there exists a list of essential job functions and what is required to complete it. The County has started to update this to Jobs Demands Analysis (JDA's). Each of these need to be updated. This will enhance recruitment processes and make job functions and the department work more smoothly. In Progress
A015AdministrationPerformance Dashboards Enhancements - currently dashboards are manually created at the beginning of each month. Use an automated SQL query that will update the dashboards directly from Accela daily. Pending
A016AdministrationContract Budget Clarity - current budget analysis of contracts only takes into account current room within the budget. Incorporate a process to ensure managers are familiar with their overall budget space for contracts so they can make better decisions within their division/group.Pending
A017AdministrationStaff Safety Trainings - presently we have very few assigned trainings and poor tracking of them. Leverage new Learning Management System functionality to automatically assign trainings to staff upon joining our department. Additionally, allow Safety Team and supervisors to assign as needed trainings whenever.Pending
A019AdministrationGIS Tools for staff - Staff currently lacks needed GIS tools for analyticsRelease new GIS capabilities for full analytics, while maintaining the integrity of underlying dataPending
A020AdministrationElectronic Signatures - All signatures are currently collected in writingEliminate unnecessary signature and collect remaining signatures electronically In Progress
A021AdministrationOnline Wizard - Current permit wizard is very basic in function and assumes customer sophistication with our internal processesRecreate the wizard with a project based perspective (i.e. I want to remodel my kitchen) that will guide the applicant to all of the information they need to proceed, including the online application for all necessary permits.In Progress
A022AdministrationFee Estimates - Currently fee estimates must be processed by permit tech on a case by case basisDevelop the online wizard to also deliver estimates for all projects in an online environmentIn Progress
C001CommunicationsImproved Language Access: High Interest Videos have Spanish captions Improved Language Access: Spanish translations for all videos & Spanish language videos (originally in Spanish, not translated) for high interest topics.Pending
C002CommunicationsImproved Language Access: Handouts for items of significant interest are available in English & SpanishImproved Language Access: Spanish translations for all handoutsPending
C003CommunicationsImproved Language Access: Press releases on items of high interest now sent out in English & SpanishImproved Language Access: Spanish translations for all press releasesPending
C004CommunicationsImproved Language Access: Social media posts on items of high interest in English & SpanishImproved Language Access: Spanish translation or separate Spanish posts for majority of social media postsIn Progress
C005CommunicationsImproved Language Access: Spanish translation at some community meetings Improved Language Access: Spanish translation available for all Permit Sonoma community meetings/hearings with 72 hours advanced requestIn Progress
C006CommunicationsImproved Language Access: Content Reading Level is not consistentImproved Language Access: Make sure all our newsletters meet 8th grade reading level simplicity. All web pages and handouts must at a minimum include summaries/introductions that meet 8th grade reading level simplicity.Pending
C007CommunicationsExpanded outreach to encourage public engagement in public hearings: website posting, legal noticing, and social media posting for BOS, BZA, PA meetings; produce videos with recap of Planning Agency meetings & high interest BOS item meetingsExpanded outreach to encourage public engagement in public hearings: Live stream or film full PC/PA/BZA meetings; post major development proposals on websitePending
C008CommunicationsIncreased storytelling: Monthly e-newsletter & latest news announcement on website Increased storytelling: create meaning for citizens by clustering various discrete elements of information into a coherent stories; customer interviewsIn Progress
C009CommunicationsImproved online information: special events calendar & GIS mapImproved online information: post all major permitted special events in special events map along with large-scale industry eventsIn Progress
C010CommunicationsImproved online information: details on use permit winery events not currently availableImproved online information: Accela winery events report available to the publicIn Progress
C011CommunicationsImproved online information: online list of permit types; Accela wizard tool Improved online information: Video series on permitting processes for property owners along with corresponding webpages and quick-cardsPending
C012CommunicationsImproved online information: website uses County CMS templateImproved online information: homepage redesign with focus on servicesPending
E001Engineering & ConstructionCounty inputs into Accela and verbally informs clients as to what is needed to issue their permit and what is needed to final the permit. County is creating a report which captures this information and which will be printed at the cashiers desk so the clients will leave with a hard copy of the requirements for each stage of their application. The information will also be made available online.Pending
E002Engineering & ConstructionCounty has minimal overtime funding available.County has authorized expenditure of existing overtime funding. To augment the use of existing overtime funding, County is allowing clients to pay overtime charges to have their projects reviewed after hours. This concept applies to all plan review activities, subject to staff availability: building, grading, septic, improvement plans.Pending
E003Engineering & ConstructionCounty currently accepts incomplete submittals which slow down processing of plan reviews.County is revisiting plan submittal requirements to pair down to the absolute minimum and enforce revised submittal requirements.Pending
E004Engineering & ConstructionCode case opened when complaint received. Attempt to contact owner. MonitorCoordinate closely with Fire and Emergency Services to abate vacant/abandoned homes with vegetation overgrowth. Abate conditions with an abatement warrant using Supervised Adult Crews to reduce fire danger.Pending
E005Engineering & ConstructionKeep fees due cases open with lien in place until all fees paid.Submit closed code cases with fees/penalties due to County Collections to increase timely paymentsPending
E008Engineering & ConstructionInability to abate violation properties due to lack of a dedicated funding sourceObtain dedicated abatement fund to be financed with funds obtained from code penalties. In Progress
E009Engineering & ConstructionCounty currently does not have contracts for grading plan review activities.County is seeking $100,000 contracts to assist in grading plan review activities.Pending
E010Engineering & ConstructionBilling and tracking of annual encroachment permits is not clear or consistent.Revised annual encroachment permit process to clearly identify scope of work and expectations for inspection requests and bill work at-cost.Pending
E011Engineering & ConstructionEncroachment work occurring in fire impacted subdivision areas not being held to same standards as other areas.Allow for encroachment work in fire impacted subdivisions to use an interim paving standard and collect an in lieu fee for DTPW so they can do final paving at a later point in time after fire rebuilding in mostly complete. Work with DTPW to establish program known as "OnePave".Pending
E012Engineering & ConstructionNo policy and procedure for ministerial encroachment permits exists.Create a policy and procedure for ministerial encroachment permits.Pending
E013Engineering & ConstructionNo policy and procedure for annual encroachment permits exists.Create a policy and procedure for annual encroachment permits.Pending
E014Engineering & ConstructionTransportation permitting process is too labor intensive.Make transportation permits available online and automate submittal, review and approval process.Pending
E015Engineering & ConstructionCertain inspection results do not allow for customer to make the same inspection request again.Revise inspection result scripting in Accela to allow the same inspection type to be requested again regardless of the original inspection result.Pending
E016Engineering & ConstructionNon-Standard Septic System Operational Permit and Monitoring (OPR) inspections priorities has not been clear and inspections performed sporadically throughout county.Revise OPR inspection priorities to focus on last inspection performed in similar geographical areas. Need to create ad hoc report to identify last inspection performed by each type (I, II, III) and group by geographical area.Pending
E017Engineering & ConstructionRevise our Third Party Plan Review policy: current practice requires auxiliary permits to be issued (such as grading permits); does not allow if project is within a flood plain or is to legalize a code violation and requires each plan review iteration to be reviewed by the County.Revised the policy to require a complete application for auxiliary permits (if needed); opens up the eligibility to include those projects within a flood plain, geologic hazard zone, etc.; County would receive all correspondence when the review has been completed.Pending
E018Engineering & ConstructionCounty currently has nearly expended our $50,000 contracts for plan review activities.County is seeking $100,000 contracts to assist in building plan review activities.Pending
E019Engineering & ConstructionDifferent application requirements for different types of applications: Plan Check Only, Plan Check and Permit, and Permit Only. Retire current concept of Plan Check Only. Revise application requirements to consolidate into one standard. Rename to be "Septic Design Application". Pending
E020Engineering & ConstructionPlan Check Only application standards include use of “Request for Service” form as actual application, no floor plans required. Revise application standards: add requirement for supporting documentation for design: (pre-percolation results, percolation test results, wet weather ground water determinations) and remove requirement for floor plans. Pending
E021Engineering & ConstructionPlan Check and Permit application standards include use of septic permit application form, floor plans are required. Supporting documentation (pre-percolation results, percolation test results, wet weather ground water determinations) are not required as part of any application and are often not provided. Develop and identify better submittal requirements such as an online check list for customers to follow. Clearly set the expectation from the start. Pending
E022Engineering & ConstructionPermit Only application requires use of septic permit application form and assumes customer applies for permit after Plan Check Only application has been approved or to invoke permit issuance right guaranteed from a Vesting Certificate. Create consistency with other construction permit types regarding application submittal requirements.Pending
E023Engineering & ConstructionThe three application types (Plan Check Only, Plan Check and Permit, and Permit Only) allows multiple ways to start application process.Consolidate the application submittal requirements into a singular standard to facilitate only one way to submit application. Septic design applications shall be reviewed and approved in anticipation of permit issuance. Pending
E024Engineering & ConstructionPermit Techs initialize permits without applicant present. Notify applicants of incomplete applications at the beginning of submittal process instead of later during review process. Allow applicants to defer determination of whether or not they want to obtain permit or get design approval to the application review process. Require decision to be made during review process but prior to approval process. Pending
E025Engineering & ConstructionWell & Septic applications are dropped off in a box at Customer Service without any screening for completeness. Remove drop off box and require applicants to visit permit techs to discuss the project and get a better sense of proposed scope of work. Permit Techs would be better able to determine which other disciplines may need to review project (activate appropriate tasks) and assess appropriate fees. In Progress
E026Engineering & ConstructionPlan check Only applications are only reviewed by W&S and are not reviewed by any other disciplines. Require the same review standards for the singular (septic design) application submittal process. Activate all applicable disciplines at time of application submittal. Pending
E027Engineering & ConstructionPlan Check and Permit applications are reviewed by all applicable disciplines. Applications are not routed to any customer service cubes for initial reviews. Route customers to the customer service cubes for activated disciplines. Review of septic design to be performed by all activated disciplines. Pending
E028Engineering & ConstructionCustomers often switch from Plan Check Only to Plan Check and Permit applications during review process. Customer must notify staff whether or not they want permit issued before approval is granted. Customer may provide notice at initial submittalPending
E029Engineering & ConstructionPlan Check Only application approvals do not have a clear requirement or path to become a permit or a vesting certificate. Create a two path option for approval of septic design applications; one path would be the traditional permit issuance process while the other path would replace the current Plan Check Only approval process and require the applicant to apply for a vesting certificate if the don't want a permit issued. Require submission of required documentation for non-standard systems prior to approval of septic design applications that will advance to issued permits only. Documentation shall not be required for septic design applications that will advance to vesting certificates. Pending
E030Engineering & ConstructionPermit Issuance is mostly done by W&S clerical staff. Route all approved septic design applications to permit techs to either issue permit or initialize vesting certificates. In both cases, additional fees would need to be assessed and paid. Enforce plan check expirations in accordance with new policy and procedure. Pending
E031Engineering & ConstructionFees for plan review and permit issuance are assessed and collected when the application is submitted. Review fees for other disciplines are not assessed. Assess plan review fees only at application submittal time. Assess appropriate discipline specific review fees. Assess permit fees at time of permit issuance not at time of application submittal. Pending
E032Engineering & ConstructionPlan check time limit is one year from first check. Revise plan check time frame to be one year from the submission of a complete application which includes all required application submittal contents and payment of plan review fees. Pending
E033Engineering & ConstructionOne plan check renewal application allowed within 180 days from plan check expiration date in order to continue review process under original submittal. One plan check renewal allowed, any subsequent plan check renewal applications would have to start from scratch. No allowance for extensions of time for warranted circumstances. Revise application expiration policy and procedure. Expire septic design applications that do not advance to an issued permit or a vesting certificate within the one-year plan check time frame. Require a site review to be performed by staff for permit renewals that have not started work to ensure location of proposed septic system is still valid. Allow for extensions of time for plan check for circumstances beyond the control of the applicant. Pending
E034Engineering & ConstructionPermit renewal policy and practice is not clear and outdated. No limitations for renewals even if work never commenced. No allowance for extensions of time for warranted circumstances. Revise permit expiration policy and procedure. Allow unlimited renewals if work has commenced. Allow two renewals if work has not commenced. Allow for extensions of time for permits for circumstances beyond the control of the applicant. Pending
E035Engineering & ConstructionSeptic workflow in Accela is not adequate for Plan Check Only applications (No good way to determine approved status, inspection workflow not necessary). SEP workflow is not adequate for applications submitted to get approval to support a subdivision or lot line adjustment. SEP workflow does not have a good way to globally manage application phase (withdraw, deny, place review on hold, reactivate completed tasks, etc.)Revise workflow for Septic Permit record types. Make similar to Grading workflow and add greater functionality. Revise to accommodate two-path approval option. Revise workflow for Vesting Certificate record type. Create a new record type to account septic design applications that will not evolve into a permit/authorization to perform work. (Septic reviews to support a subdivision, lot line adjustment, or reserve replacement area). Pending
E036Engineering & ConstructionN/AGather staff input on Well & Septic processes, update processes, then provide training and notification to all staff and septic design professionals. Update website information regarding requirements, expectations, processes, procedures, etc.Pending
F002Fire PreventionComplaints are reported via phone which takes excessive staff time to address. Current staff resources are taken away from other tasks causing inefficiency.Implement So Co Report It to track & provide customer access to report overgrown vegetation in unincorporated Sonoma County.In Progress
F003Fire PreventionUtilize ESRI Collector App which does not easily interface/communicate with Accela Platform. Requires excessive manual manipulation of data and is inefficient.Migrate data collection platform for vegetation management (defensible space inspection) to Accela System to streamline GIS, notices and statistic tracking to populate "dashboards" for public access to inspection data. Pending
P004PlanningAccela: Accela allows project tracking, but it is not used to its full potentialSchedule regular in depth training between IT and planning staff to improve Accela-based project management and processing automation; refine Accela as needed to facilitate work flows Pending
P005PlanningAccela: Accela allows project tracking, but it is not used to its full potentialRequire staff to enter all projects in Accela; establish a billing/timecard entry and require min hours weekly for logging and updating project files until we have an up to date recordPending
P007PlanningOrganization: Division staff is divided by SectionDevelop deliverables for Project Teams: (A) Review projects collectively; develop model language/analytical methods (B) Develop resources for staff to improve processing and quality (C) Report on legislative/procedural changes new and proposed (D) Training staff and developing "onboarding" to the topic area as staff join the team (E) Resource to respond to customer inquiries; manager for topical interpretations and reporting on determinations (F) Establish regular meeting calendar and team moderator/administrator to prepare and cover meeting agendas (G) Project triage; identifying "boiler plate" approval candidates as a team (X) Service Improvements Team: 7-member group from each project team, responsible for identifying and reporting on process improvements, lessons, and following up with assigned process improvements delegates to complete the improvements. (XX) Service Improvements Team: Funnel information on process improvement needs to designated IT coordinator.Pending
P016PlanningImplementation: Staff meeting discussions identify protocols/improvements that are not always implementedDevelop process improvements tracking mechanism and notification; prepare "submission" form that are to be used at all staff meetings. Pending
P017PlanningAccela: Accela allows project tracking, but it is not used to its full potentialEstablish clearer and more streamlined milestones for project tracking in Accela to maximize the programPending
P018PlanningAt-Cost Projects: Overhead is not billed to clients Develop procedures for calculating overhead on projects in a standardized format, such as automatic % increase based on tasks billed per invoice. Pending
P019PlanningTracking: Staff emails on project direction and review processing are routinely requested by applicants and the public. This requires research time to locate and distribute. Process all milestone emails in Accela to keep an accurate record of key decision points: (A) Welcome letter (B) Completeness (C) Conditions (D) Packets (E) Major interpretations (F) CEQA determinationsPending
P027PlanningAccela: Accela allows project tracking, but it is not used to its full potentialExplore options to recruit intern/volunteers to load all project status entries to AccelaPending
P028PlanningAccela: Accela allows project tracking, but it is not used to its full potentialDevelop reports that track staff-processing times only for planning projects, indicating delays due to applicantPending
P034PlanningProcessing: Clerical staff retain project processing timelines for respective review bodiesReview, refine, and circulate the packet preparation schedule to ensure planners are aware of deadlines for submission; create calculator to backdate process work flow for plannersPending
P035PlanningStreamlining: N/AImplement Zoning Administrator structurePending
P036PlanningTracking: Department maintains dashboard modules on processing improvements and project statusDevelop modules for Planning as Accela data is implemented Pending
P038PlanningProcess Improvements: Competing demands limit capacity to implement process improvementsEstablish bi-weekly focus sessions to process project subsets (e.g. LLA "blitz") recruit all relevant referral partners as resources to make decisions on projectsPending
P039PlanningStaff Reports: Staff develops reports based on previous reports, templates, and internal coordinationMandate review of major projects nearby to applications; develop procedures to streamline data gatheringPending
P041PlanningManagement: Managers process large and small projectsFocus manager time on large projects only to allow for management time and coordinationPending
P042PlanningContact Information: Staff, committee, Board, Commission rosters published onlineUpdate references and contact information onlinePending
P043PlanningLegislation: Regulatory updates on CEQA case law and land use policy at the state or regional level are done ad hoc. Work with County Counsel and Sr. Management to update planners on upcoming and recently passed legislative changes that impact Permit Sonoma's work.Pending
P044PlanningStaff Development: Staff training is coordinated through the department budgetRevisit department budget to create more opportunities for CEQA training and SMA trainingPending
P045PlanningCustomer Experience: Training provided by staff/shadowingBring in CX consultant to update staff on best practices; focus on solutions oriented approaches - getting to "yes" and achieving applicant goals togetherPending
P047PlanningCustomer Service: N/AInvest in customer service training for all staff to provide focus, share tips and tools to improve cx, and promote solutions-oriented approach. Pending
P048PlanningWorkload: FTE locked and limitedCollect data on workload and processing to advocate for FTE expansion, including advocating for increased at-cost processingPending
P049PlanningCounsel: Access to files relies on planner as intermediaryReview commonly requested files types and upload to Accela with link for Counsel. Allow counsel direct access, but controlled. Pending
P050PlanningTraining: Provided in-houseIncrease external training opportunities; bring expertise into Permit SonomaPending
P051PlanningIntake: Project intake process is typically over the counter/in personTransition to online application intakePending
P054PlanningHousing: Housing Element defines goals to address affordable housing needs Develop regular reporting on housing initiatives and publish online Pending
P055PlanningTribal Consultation: Procedure follows standard noticingDevelop updated consultation policy Pending
P056PlanningTribal consultation: Recommended practitioners lists do not assess quality of the professionalDevelop County practitioner list or work with NWIC to update/modify the listPending
P057PlanningConditions Compliance: Operational reporting requirements are the onus of the applicantWork with IT to develop automated noticing to Permit Sonoma staff (clerical) on reporting deadlines into the future. Pending
P058PlanningRevenue: N/AExamine economic development opportunities and identify process improvements and other resources that Permit Sonoma can publish to support revenue-generating uses in appropriate areas. Work with EDB, Tennis, CAO, and Board (e.g. Hotel TOT). Pending
P060PlanningAt-Cost Projects: Fire review is not fully at-costImplement at-cost fire reviewPending
P063PlanningIntake: Applicants submit plans that are reviewed at the counter for completenessImplement policy that incomplete applications will not be accepted.Pending
P064PlanningTraining: Managers design training planRequire initial consultation with staff on training plan before finalizingPending
P065PlanningFile Management: S:/ drive holds planner filesReorganize the S:/ drive according to predefined goals and structure that all staff have been notified of in advance. Map the changes, present to staff, and begin implementationPending
P066PlanningPMD Website: Navigation is cumbersomeImprove website navigation; enlist client test groups with members of the public and improve navigationPending
P067PlanningMapping: GIS viewer online provide access to geospatial dataInvest in software improvements to improve reliable and fast mappingPending
P073PlanningPolicy Development: Comprehensive Planning develops policy; other staff learn about the changes when implemented Require that policy planners consult with project review focus groups to test and evaluate policy changes. Pending
P074PlanningEngagement. Protocols and procedures for community engagement and outreach are not standardized. Procedures for individual projects are set forth in individual project work plans that are not accessible to all staff.Develop department standards and guidelines for community outreach, including: (A) Requirements during lifespan of policy projects (B) Outreach methods (C) Outreach types that have been successful (D) Lessons learned that should not be repeated (E) Ambassadors, networks, organizations, and groups that should be utilizedPending
P076PlanningStreamlining: Fence permits occupy excessive planner timeReview code standards and prioritize streamlining in Dev. Code Update Phase IIPending
P077PlanningPolicy Development: ImplementationPolicies are developed but pathway to full implementation by other divisions or departments is unclear. Implement process workflow for Comp team, such as an electronic "ticket," to ensure policies are carried into maps, codes and policies when authorized.Pending
P078PlanningManagement: Ad hoc meetings to coordinate upper management on projectsDevelop protocol for coordinating upper management on policy directions to eliminate redirection and processing delays Pending
P079PlanningDeadlines: Policy projects are self-initiated; scheduling is more flexibleImplement project management software to track processing toward pre-defined target datesPending
P080PlanningRegulations: Findings reside in the General Plan for standards of reviewProcess zoning amendments to codify findings and standards Pending
P081PlanningRegulations: Some policies may require repetitive or excess reviewReduce review authority, clarify standards of review for fencesPending
P082PlanningRegulations: Some policies may require repetitive or excess reviewReduce review authority for ADUs consistent with state law, move to over the counter review of building permitsPending
P083PlanningRegulations: Some policies may require repetitive or excess reviewConsider amending appeal language to streamline processes. Example: no appeals on recommendations, only on actionsPending
P084PlanningDeadlines: Policy projects are self-initiated; scheduling is more flexibleDevelop project status report summaries - one page, simplified Gantt charts for all projects in the work planPending
P086PlanningCEQA: Templates exist for the CEQA checklist to assist in processingUpdate the CEQA checklist to streamline review Pending
P087PlanningCEQA: Technical analyses require outside consultants to prepare or reviewIssue RFQ for services covering all special topic areasPending
P088PlanningTPW: Project management ad hocDevelop MOA to establish standards of review for NR on public projectsPending
P089PlanningCEQA: Mitigations are applied to mitigate impactsDevelop protocol for determining when projects require mitigations versus conditions Pending
P090PlanningCEQA Initial Studies: Project planners process CEQA review and tag NR staff as neededEstablish procedure to route CEQA Initial Studies (Biology, Geology, Hydrology, etc.) review to NR specialists; establish routing protocol, document preparation procedures, turnaround timesPending
P091PlanningStreamlining: N/ADevelop targets for reducing processing on TPW projectsPending
P094PlanningCEQA: Templates exist for the CEQA checklist to assist in processingPrepare a clean CEQA checklist to eliminate staff time in clearing irrelevant stock review commentsPending
P095PlanningStreamlining: N/AAnalyze contracted projects to determine cost/savings or issues that may have been createdPending
P097PlanningRouting: Natural resources has seldom prepared staff reportsTrain Natural Resource staff on packet preparation and timelines Pending
P098PlanningCEQA: Templates exist for the CEQA checklist to assist in processingUpdate stock review comments to speed up processingPending
P099PlanningCEQA: Mitigations are applied to mitigate impactsReview all template and common mitigations to determine if the mitigations are additive to other regulations or repetitive; avoid redundancyPending
P100PlanningTPW: Intermittent face-to-face with TPW on traffic studies for PRIVATE PROJECTSCoordinated planner days in TPWPending
P101PlanningCEQA: (M)NDs are processed in-houseUnder-take at-cost environmental review for select projects with major natural resource issues with staff oversightPending
P102PlanningProject Review: Submittal requirements capture CEQA needsExpand and clarify submittal requirements to provide more environmental detail (when determined necessary by staff), and provide model submittals/templatesPending
P103PlanningDevelop Biological Assessment Guidelines for Private ProjectsDevelop guidelines for CEQA studies needed for bio and hydro sections of CEQEA checklistPending
P104PlanningCEQA/NEPA Process Procedures Manual and Flow ChartsUpdate manual and process flow chartsPending
P105PlanningWorkload: Full-time ARM Position neededSubmit PCR, Hire Staff if approvedPending
P107PlanningRouting: Project routing and connecting with commenting staff/agencies is opaqueDevelop or update standardized conditions for common issues; include language that allows for staff review of the condition at time of condition compliancePending
P108PlanningRouting: Project routing and connecting with commenting staff/agencies is opaqueWork with commenting agencies/departments to develop routing tracking thru AccelaPending
P109PlanningRouting: project are sent to review agencies/departments without priority identificationDevelop cover sheet template to communicate urgency for targeted projectsPending
P110PlanningRouting: project are sent to review agencies/departments without priority identificationEstablish more reliable channels between Department heads to add urgency to projectsPending
P111PlanningInterpretations: Staff interpretations of code logged in S:/ Review all interpretations and clarify determinationsPending
P112PlanningInterpretations: Staff interpretations are made ad hoc, reviewed by managersDevelop a process to log interpretations in S:/ or elsewhere, flag issues in the code, and notify planners of new interpretations made with clientsPending
P113PlanningInquiries: Planners at the cube receive questions from applicants and provide directionDevelop a process to track applicants that raise questions and determinations provided to log previous discussions and maintain consistency with interpretations or direction provided to the public. Pending
P114PlanningCondition Compliance: This aspect of planners' duties is growing exponentially due to lengthier conditions and lack of process structureImplement condition compliance as a function of Accela to manage workflows and allow public access to status updatesPending
P116PlanningCondition Compliance: This aspect of planners' duties is growing exponentially due to lengthier conditions and lack of process structureDevelop a module/dashboard to track progress on condition compliancePending
P117PlanningCondition Compliance: This aspect of planners' duties is growing exponentially due to lengthier conditions and lack of process structureEstablish a clerical liaison for condition compliance to keep projects moving. Pending
P118PlanningHealth: Applicants are required to submit necessary application material for health reviewApplicants routinely do not provide information; identify the most commonly overlooked or challenged requirements (well/septic, noise, garbage, restaurants, swimming pools, HazMat, and medical waste). Are they necessary? Develop checklists and sample reports so applicants are aware of requirements. Connect with practitioners directly through a working group to develop best practices and streamlined reviewPending
P119PlanningHealth: One health specialist on staffImplement training for 1 additional health specialist on staffPending
P120PlanningHealth: Noise specialist required for project reviewRelease RFQ, with reasonable expectations, to secure at-cost supportPending
P121PlanningGHG Impacts: Standard conditions require a GHG mitigation plan, with no clear guidance or parametersWork with RCPA, BAAQMD, ARB, and other specialist to develop GHG reduction options with clear associated benefits that can be tailored to projects by size and scope. Pending
P122PlanningGHG Impacts: Cumulative impacts are considered qualitativelyDefine process and benchmarks for cumulative impact assessmentPending
P123PlanningStaff Reports: Templates exist but vary widely and have not been updated for current review standards, requiring planners to update and redevelop for each projectDevelop a standard staff report template for PC, BZA, DR, and other Boards/CommitteesPending
P124PlanningStaff Reports: Templates exist but vary widely and have not been updated for current review standards, requiring planners to update and redevelop for each projectDevelop "best practices" checklists with stock answers and reference materials for planners on projects based on type of project. This should supplement the blank staff report template. Pending
P125PlanningWorkload: Remediation is processed at the end of document preparation Develop staff report, conditions, and resolution templates that are pre-remediated and train staff on "styles" so that documents are remediated during drafting. Pending
P126PlanningWorkload: Clerical staff responds to planner notification of new materials, supplements, and public comments received on staff reports Require mandatory "check-ins" 5 and 2 days prior to hearings to remind planners to notify clerical of any new material for packets. Pending
P127PlanningCondition Compliance: Applicants track conditions independently After implementing conditions compliance through Accela, develop mechanism to track completed conditions that lives in/with the project record and is accessible in a pre-determined location for all to access. Consider uploading conditions PDF, and revising with strikeout version as conditions are completed. Pending
P128PlanningCondition Compliance: Applicants track conditions independently Host Accela training for applicants through Directors Advisory Group and online tutorials. Pending
P129PlanningCompleteness: Determinations are provided prior to routing completionRevise policies and procedures to gather routed comments prior to issuing completenessPending
P130PlanningCompleteness: Items required versus items requested are not differentiatedUpdate completeness letter formatting to establish required and advisory items. Institute tracking mechanism linked with Accela to maintain logs of required informationPending
P131PlanningConditions Compliance: Operational reporting requirements are the onus of the applicantWork with IT to develop automated noticing to PRMD staff (clerical) on reporting deadlines into the future. Pending
P132PlanningADUs: Staff process ADUs ad hoc consistent with standard and regulationsDevelop checklists to expedite processing ( Being done w/ LLA app updates)Pending
P133PlanningLLAs: No special processing Develop handouts for applicants to clarify submittal requirements and expedite processingPending
P134PlanningStreamlining: Ministerial permits are processed over the counter and are taken in for longer processingDevelop necessary checklists and standards to shift ministerial projects to 5-day permit approvals. (Eliminate hard file process/electronic file only in Accela & S:> drivePending
P135PlanningResources: Review for wetlands on site includes existing GIS databaseReview published and reliable GIS information and develop checklists for planners to flag and notify applicants of wetlands potential and associated risks/permitting issues. Amend grading permit checklist to consider wetlands resources in the checklist. Ideas: Check soils, check state wetland mapping at minimumPending
P136PlanningPre-application Meetings: Applicants can schedule pre-application meetings with senior leadershipDevelop procedures and checklists to manage meeting discussions for Planning Pending
P137PlanningPre-application Meetings: Applicants can schedule pre-application meetings with senior leadershipIntegrate TPW into the review processPending
P138PlanningHot Files: Tracked in excel databaseLog and update project files into Accela; track files in AccelaPending
P139PlanningApplications: Received largely over the counterRequire electronic submittals and enable online submittal Pending
P140PlanningLLAs: Technical corrections need to be tracked when a GPA or rezoning is involvedUpdate technical corrections LLA formPending
P141PlanningLLAs: When GPA or rezone is required, processed as administrative actionCreate PCAS and log time to process technical correctionPending
P142PlanningConditions Compliance: Conditions are generalized to speed processing, causes confusion at hearings and increases tendency for prolonged hearings, continuances, and repeat hearingsReview conditions with all referral agencies and departments to: (A) Improve clarity (B) Remove redundancy where a permit requirement condition covers specific condition requirement (C) Define review authority (D) Define condition compliance timeframes (when must it be completed)Pending
P143PlanningApplications: N/ADevelop reference materials for applicants that highlight "model" application materials Pending
P144PlanningApplications: Intake staff utilize checklists that are dated for verifying application requirements. Update application intake checklists for front-line staff using completeness letters to identify routinely overlooked materials; prepare "model" application material samples to aid applicants Pending
P145PlanningInactive Files: Assigned to planners individuallyPrepare summary denial letter template; dedicate time to send letters on status/summary denials for inactivePending
P146PlanningWorkload: N/AIdentify additional over-the-counter review opportunitiesPending
P147PlanningPRAC: Mandatory on specified projectsImplement PRAC waiver procedure; improve referral processing to reduce need for PRAC input later in the processPending