The City of Rockville hosted a webex meeting on May 20, 2020, to provide its stakeholders an update on the implementation of its FAST program. FAST – which stands for Fast, Accountable, Smarter and Transparent is an overhaul of the development review and permit approval process in the City.
The good news is that the City has made significant progress refining and implementing many aspects of the FAST improvements, some of which became a necessity during the COVID-19 outbreak and were accelerated.
First, online permit submission has been expanded to all permits. Even requests such as variances and modifications can now be submitted by pdf. Further enhancements to online submissions are forthcoming as new software is implemented over the next few months. Online payments are also being processed, although checks will still be accepted by mail, fed-ex or delivery to City Hall.
The City has just issued a Customer Bill of Rights that puts into writing the level of customer service, information and processing that can be expected in every case. The Customer Bill of Rights include such things as providing the name and contact information for all reviewers, clear guidance on all submission requirements, and a list of all fees up front, among other items. In addition, it speaks to transparency by staff who is to assist with resolving code issues and make stakeholders aware of modifications and available alternatives.
The City is working on timelines for all development and permit applications which will be published in the coming months. Staff has improved internal coordination of comments between departments and has added a level of internal collaboration so that applicants receive non-conflicting comments.
The Fire Marshal, Carl Young, announced that annual fire inspections for existing structures are coming to Rockville. In anticipation, all guidance documents are being updated so there is clarity on what the City regulations require of its stakeholders. In addition, his office is working on “Compliance Engine”, a platform to permit 3rd party inspections, which they hope to roll out this year.
The recording and deck of the webex of the FAST update is being posted to the City of Rockville website.
This update is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting a lawyer.
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