Mayor Joseph J. Solomon issued an executive order Wednesday directing the Building Official, Fire Chief and Planning Department to develop a comprehensive program to allow for independent third party review of fire plans. The program will help to expedite the review process, which presently has seen significant delays, he said.
“Since taking office, I have found that the city’s fire marshal doesn’t have the capacity to provide timely plan review of engineered designs, which has, in many cases, delayed development projects to the detriment of those who want to do business here,” Solomon said in a press release. “We need to make sure that the review process is timely and convenient for developers and investors. Offering the option of an independent third party review of fire safety plans will help us do just that.”
Solomon said that the fire marshal’s review of plans has been taking on average of two months – and in some cases, longer – to complete, far in excess of the remainder of the city’s streamlined e-permitting process.
He said that it is his intent that the process take effect on January 1. The program would allow qualified and licensed consulting engineering plan review services, at the option of the applicant or developer. These firms would be required to be licensed in the appropriate discipline and conform with local and state regulations. The fire permitting review process would run parallel with the e-permitting process and expedite review for applicants who are willing to fund the service. In return, the city would apply discounts to the permitting fee commensurate with a portion of the fee that would otherwise be dedicated to fire safety permitting.
The program to be developed shall include, but won’t be limited to, creation of a fee structure and the qualifications for firms conducting the review, Solomon said. He expects the program to be developed no later than December 21 to ensure its timely implementation on January 1.
“Offering this option will reduce the lengthy and complicated review process, helping to ensure robust economic development in our community. This will, in turn, lead to job growth, which has been, and will continue to be, a top priority for me and my administration,” the mayor said.