P&Z Staff Aim For Better Customer Service

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Change is afoot in the Payson Community Development Department. The planning and zoning staff has met twice with members of the building industry and public to see how they can provide better customer service.

The first meeting, in early November, has resulted in new procedures already, according to Ray LaHaye, certified building official with the community development department.

"In the building permit application we made some simple changes to make use of the Internet and e-mail," LaHaye said.

The department also has enhanced the information sheets it provides contractors and residents, he said.

"Our plan-review procedures are more customer based," he said.

The meeting in November and another held Dec. 11 were facilitated by Lance Decker of L.L. Decker & Associates.

Information and proposals discussed at the meeting Thursday will be put into a report and action plan, and returned to the department for review. Once the P&Z staff has the report, they could add items to further improve customer service. The report and action plan will then be sent to the Payson Town Council for adoption.

According to Chris Floyd, who recorded the discussion at the Dec. 11 meeting, the report should go to the council some time in January.

At Thursday's meeting the planning staff, members of the town council, candidates for council and mayor, and representatives from both the building industry and community at large discussed:

  • The permit process
  • The plan review process
  • Inspections
  • Customer relations

A break-out session was held to propose suggestions for a correct-and-proceed agreement and deal with ambiguity and consistency in regulations and their enforcement, Floyd said.

She explained a correct-and-proceed agreement would allow an inspector to tell a builder about minor violations that needed to be addressed, then let the corrections be made and work proceed without another inspection.

"It would not involve anything that was a life-safety issue," Floyd said.

Dealing with ambiguity and consistency will keep everyone on the same page.

"(The meeting) went very well," LaHaye said, "We were able to convey information on a lot of issues we normally don't get to talk about in the normal course of doing our job. It was a reality check for us and an absolute benefit."

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