Expedited Permitting

Delays during any stage in the development process add to the final costs of new housing. Reducing the costs incurred by developers during the development review process makes affordable housing projects more attractive. Expedited permitting is a cost-efficient and very effective way of reducing developer costs. Fast-tracking review and permitting of affordable housing projects reduces developer costs at no-cost to local jurisdictions. 


  • Fast-tracking review and permitting processes for residential development that include affordable housing units.
  • Helps developers of such projects retain profit margin.
  • The program can be employed at no-cost to local jurisdictions.

In Practice

Santa Fe, New Mexico. By the early 1990s, three quarters of its residents could not afford a median priced home, and housing costs were 40% above the national average. Complicated development processes and restrictive land use policies further hampered efforts to provide affordable housing opportunities. Santa Fe accelerated the processing of housing developments that include at least 25% affordably priced homes. The city also waived or reduced various impact, processing, and permitting fees for affordable housing developments. Together with other zoning & planning tools, nearly 16% of all new homes built in Santa Fe during the last decade are affordable for working families.

Anne Arundel County, Maryland. In September 2003, Anne Arundel County established a permit process that was sensitive to the needs of the victims of Hurricane Isabel. The Department of Inspections and Permits set up a system to assist residents and businesses rebuild in a safe and fast manner. In this system, there was no permit required to do roof, windows, door, siding and decking repairs. For minor structural damage, a permit could be issued the same day for a small fee. This expedited permitting process for minor storm damage was highly efficient and will possibly be emulated in other areas for similar situations.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The Lancaster County Planning Commission aids the county in a sequential plan approval process through its Permitting Initiative. The Permitting Initiative advocates a concurrent and coordinated review process that results in the issuance of all permits and approvals for selected economic development projects within a short time frame. Although the permitting initiative provides for a pragmatic strategy to expedite qualified economic development projects, it is still stressed that ordinance standards will never be abandoned. Rather, all regulatory agencies, authorities and units of government agree to concurrently review the project to the extent allowed under existing statutes.

Pinellas County, Florida. To encourage affordable housing development in Pinellas County, a variety of incentives are made available by the Board of County Commissioners. For the expedited permit processing incentive, the county administrator provides a review process that gives Affordable Housing Developments' priority in the permit review process. A two week turnaround time is the desired goal for the processing of a site plan for such development.

Inclusionary Zoning Expedited Permitting Density Bonuses Housing Rehabilitation Programs Expiring Use of Federal Subsidies Adaptive Reuse
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