WatchSonoma Watch

County open house designed to ‘demystify’ permit process

Sonoma County’s Planning Department — a government division often under fire from landowners and builders — is set to hold a public open house next Friday to “demystify” the permit process.

Planning officials have been working over the past two years to improve customer service at the Permit and Resource Management Department, which oversees building and development projects in the unincorporated area.

Critics say it is often the source of excessive and costly regulation that can delay projects.

County officials have responded by trying to streamline some regulations. Last year, supervisors also authorized spending $188,000 a year in pay and benefits for a customer service ombudsman at the department to help guide applicants through the permit process.

On Jan. 18, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., planning officials are hosting an open house to introduce the ombudsman, explain county permits to first time applicants and unveil new services for regular customers.

The Permit and Resource Management Department is at 2550 Ventura Ave., Santa Rosa. For more information, call 565-1900.

— Brett Wilkison

7 Responses to “County open house designed to ‘demystify’ permit process”

  1. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Maybe you all should ask the Board of Supervisors how many managers to rank and file staff are at the Permit Office. More trained staff means less time in processing permits. More managers mean they get in the way of competent frontline employees and create unnecessary work with their “bright” ideas.

    But hey, that’s what the Board of Supervisors likes. Otherwise why do they keep approving more new management position when the rank and file staff to management ratio is about 5.73 to 1 (5.73:1). Of course that’s an old ratio from early last spring. I’ll bet it’s worse now. Oregon has a new law that puts management to rank and file to a more reasonable 1:11. We need a Proposition to make changes. We need more rank and file staff AND FEWER HIGH PAID/HIGH PERK MANAGERS.

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  2. Steveguy says:

    Rename the forum ” How we will make your life miserable, and cost you thousands with every string attached. ”

    I know too many people that have suffered these ” public servants “.

    They serve someone, and it sure is NOT the public !

    Come on PD, there are many that have endured the nightmares caused by this Department. . Get a Pulitzer, do some real reporting !

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  3. James Bennett says:

    It’s time we start to recognize “planning” and code enforcement as the powerful instruments that they really are.
    Instruments of oppression and economic contraction.
    The mother ship of oppression; The U.N. knew it.
    That’s why the year after Bush Sr. signed on Agenda 21 in Rio; Clinton created The President’s Council for Sustainability.
    The eventual product of millions of in grants and 7 years of effort was the planner’s bible. The American Planning Association saw to to it that this book is on the desk of shelf of every planner in the U.S.. It’s called: Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for the Management of Change.” The purpose of this effort being to insideously implement Sustainable Development into all communities. The public didn’t know about it, no vote, no choice. This clever move in and of itself could go a long way toward neutering small business and property rights in and of itself.
    Sonoma County is the ground zero template for this crap, on the cutting edge of UN oppression. Lucky us.
    This is why it takes a decade of resistance to rebuild your barn, or have a guest cottage. This is why there’s a “Coming Soon” sign at that new business for a year. This is why the desireable hub of the Wine Country is starting to feel like Fresno.
    The elitest attitude that we notice is part of the us and them mentality instilled through training.
    ICLEI charters have two liasons; one on council and ONE IN THE PLANNING DEPT..

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  4. Beef King says:

    In my business with the Planning dept. I have made the observation that employees behave as though they are given unilateral authority without an obligation to the taxpayer nor to the citizens who are forced to ask for their approvals….
    ‘Untouchable’ is another way to describe the collective behavior of county employees.
    Are county employees unionized?? That might have something to do with their public relations problems.
    Public Sector Unions need to be dismantled.

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  5. Snarky says:

    Did you all see the very amusing public opinion poll released in the media several days ago where government employees were rated, by the general public, as lower than head lice and root canals? LOL

    Seriously, google the story. Its amusing.

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  6. James Bennett says:

    I’m not mystified at all.

    I know exactly where our over reaching disrespect for property rights comes from.

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  7. Terry says:

    You’ve got to be kidding. Under its current leadership of Pete Parkinson and Jennifer Barrett PRMD is clunky, uses every opportunity to create opportunities to grab money and has no real accountability. I have heard no one express that the creation of the Ombudsman position has done any good.

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