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Mayor Hosts Grand Opening of Development Services Center

7/8/2014

Representatives from Six Metro Agencies Co-Locate to Provide One-Stop Service for Issuing Development and Building Permits

Metro Sets Record in FY 2014 With $1.87 Billion in Permits

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean hosted the ceremonial grand opening and ribbon cutting of Metro’s Development Services Center, a customer-friendly, one-stop service center where all Metro development and building permit applications can be initiated, processed and issued. Representatives from six different Metro agencies from several different office locations have been co-located in the north wing of the first floor of the Metro Office Building.

“Nashville is experiencing tremendous new development as our city’s economy and appeal continue to grow, and a single office where citizens can apply for various building permits streamlines the permit process,” Mayor Dean said. “Locating several Metro departments in one place means applicants will no longer have to travel to multiple locations to get their permits. I appreciate the Metro Codes and Planning departments for taking the lead on this innovative approach that will go a long way in making our permit process one of the most simple, straightforward and customer-friendly in the country.”

Representatives from Metro agencies that review and approve permit applications -- Metro Codes, Fire Marshal, Planning, Water Services, Public Works and Historical Commission -- are located in the Development Services Center.

The Development Services Center includes a comfortable waiting area and an open design to better support customer and staff interaction, as well as interaction between staff of various departments. It also includes self-service computer terminals so that customers can start online portions of the application process on their own.

“This concept has been discussed in Nashville for several decades, and I appreciate Mayor Dean for recognizing the value in it for our city, our citizens and our city’s businesses,” said Terry Cobb, Metro director of Development Services. “Mayor Dean understands that speed and efficiency in the permitting process is a valuable economic development tool that can set us apart from our competitors.”

During today’s program, Cobb announced that Metro set an all-time record in Fiscal Year 2014 for the value of building permits issued in Metro at $1.870 billion. That tops the previous record set in Fiscal Year 2007 at $1.830 billion.

The program also included a teleconferencing demonstration with representatives of San Antonio-based Embrey Development Corp., which has a multi-family development underway directly adjacent to First Tennessee Park, the city’s new minor-league ballpark. The teleconferencing feature at the Development Services Center enhances communication between out-of-town developers and Metro’s land-use staff.

A tour of the various areas in the Development Services Center also was part of today’s grand opening, including zoning review; plans review; stormwater flood plain; stormwater grading; water and sewer; building and trade permit; Public Works; Historic Commission; Planning Commission and self-serve computers.

In addition to the staff assembled on the first floor, additional personnel from these departments have been co-located conveniently on the second and third floors of the Metro Office Building to provide even greater support for the Development Services Center.

Other components of the Development Services Center that have streamlined the permit process include the following:

  • Pre-submission Conferences: Builders and developers have the option to meet with representatives of all the development services departments in pre-submission conferences to discuss their particular project. The conferences are available to architects, contractors and developers who are early in their design phases so that they can ask key questions, gain feedback and establish contacts with each of the various departments. These conferences bring efficiency to the permit process.
  • New Computer System: Metro is replacing the computer system that serves the permit and inspection tracking processes across multiple departments in order to provide the latest in technology upgrades. The new system will better coordinate the operations of multiple departments, allow departments to better communicate with citizens and customers, and increase the amount of business that can be conducted electronically. The system will include a new and improved process for the electronic submission of plans. The new computer system will go live in in January, 2015.
  • Development Advisory Group: This group of contractors, architects, developers and trade associations was established to help provide an ongoing dialogue with customers for continued feedback and interaction. The group meets quarterly with representatives of all development services departments.

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Photos credit: Metro Photographic Services

Ribbon cutting for new Development Services Center
Mayor Karl Dean is joined by Doug Sloan, deputy director of Metro Planning; Terry Cobb, director of Metro Development Services; Metro Fire Chief Rick White; Randy Lovett, interim director of Metro Public Works; and Rick Bernhardt, executive director of Metro Planning to cut the ribbon on Metro’s Development Services Center today.

Mayor Dean tours new Development Services Center
Mayor Karl Dean is joined by Terry Cobb, director of Metro Development Services, and Doug Sloan, deputy director of Metro Planning, on a tour of the Development Services Center today.

Mayor Dean giving speech at new Development Services Center grand opening
Mayor Karl Dean touts the benefits of a one-stop, customer-friendly Development Services Center, saying, “Focused attention on making Nashville business-friendly and growth-friendly is going to help ensure our continued economic success. It’s going to keep us competitive as companies look at all the options they have for doing business here and in other counties and states.”