• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Friday, January 4, 2019

City-County Planning gets international recognition for innovation

City-County Planning and Development Services was recognized for winning an international award in code innovation during the county commissioner’s Jan. 3 briefing.

The department received the 2018 Innovations in Code Excellence Award from the International Code Council, which represents more than 70,000 building code officials around the world. ICC’s board of directors voted unanimously to honor the department for making it easier to repurpose old buildings through the “change of use” process.

The department got input on how to overhaul the process by creating a Change of Use Task Force made of realtors, property managers, builders, architects, engineers, developers, fire marshals and others.

Commissioner Tonya McDaniel presented the award to Planning Director Aaron King and Chief Building Official Dan Dockery during Thursday’s briefing. Dockery thanked the commissioners and the community for their support.

“We thank the community for engaging with us,” said Dockery. “It wasn’t just us. It was realtors, developers, builders, everyone who had an interest in seeing these marvelous buildings and structures not go to waste, but instead be reused, get people into them quicker, get businesses started sooner, give them a better chance of success.”

The new process gives entrepreneurs resources to determine a space’s suitability, created two low cost permits for simple changes, created a way to see a building’s past uses, simplified permitted uses and aligned hazardous-use ratings with the National Rehabilitation Code.

More than 900 new permits have been issued and more than 250 building evaluations have been conducted since the new process went into effect in 2012.

ICC’s Benchmarking and Best Practices subcommittee plans to promote the local methods used as a model to communities around the globe.

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