Baton Rouge to select firm to aid overtaxed permit office

Anyone in Baton Rouge who works in real estate or construction will tell you delays in the permitting process is the single biggest problem they face.

With the wait time for a commercial building permit averaging between six and eight weeks—and sometimes stretching to as many as six months—builders, developers, buyers and sellers say it’s increasingly difficult to do business in East Baton Rouge Parish.

“That is the number one complaint I hear from my clients,” real estate broker Mark Hebert tells Business Report in a feature from the current issue. “It’s taking months and months to get a permit and, let’s face it, time is money.”

Later this month, the city-parish is expected to unveil its latest solution to the problem, when it selects a firm to provide plan review services to the overtaxed and understaffed Office of Permits in the Department of Development.

In June, the city-parish issued a Request for Proposals from firms interested in doing plan review for the permits office, which is where most of the logjam in the process occurs.

Director of Development Cary Chauvin won’t say which firms submitted proposals or how much they would charge for the expedited review process. But he hopes to convene a selection committee and pick a firm by the end of this month.

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