Can changes to Delaware’s permit process make a significant impact on the state’s economic development? The Delaware Business Roundtable did an analysis, and found that the current permit process is holding Delaware back, making it less competitive and inhibiting development.
Brian DiSabatino, CEO of EDiS Company — whose construction projects over the years have included dozens of Delaware schools, medical facilities, office buildings, residences and the Rodney Square renovation — agrees, comparing an overhaul to the permit process to the Financial Center Development Act (aka the Financial Banking Services Act) on Twitter:
Could be the most significant development in advancing the future of Delaware since Pete duPont’s Financial Center Development Act. This is awesome! #NetDE #ChooseDelaware #readyin6 https://t.co/v2k4afyhrt
— Brian DiSabatino (@BrianDiSab) December 10, 2019
The analysis was commissioned by the Ready In 6 Coalition, comprised of Delaware Business Roundtable, Delaware State Chamber, Kent Economic Partnership, Greater Kent Committee, Sussex County Economic Development Action Team, ACEC Delaware, Committee of 100, Central Delaware Chamber, New Castle County Chamber, Delaware Contractors Association, Delaware Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors and Home Builders Association of Delaware.
It included interviews with people involved with Delaware’s business permit review process, including state agencies and developers, and a review of the current guidelines, which were compared to other states in the region.
In its introduction, the analysis says it found that “other states in the region, including Maryland and Pennsylvania, are able to achieve substantially faster permit approvals for businesses wishing to locate or expand in the state. As a result, Delaware is missing significant economic development opportunities in the competition for jobs, talent and investment.”
In Delaware, it found permits for building new structures and construction projects on existing structures that do not require rezoning can take 18 to 24 months — significantly longer than neighboring states. It also highlights permit expediting processes in other states, often via state-based liaisons helping to fast-track permits.
Without a similar system, the analysis found, Delaware is left at a disadvantage when it comes to maintaining and keeping growing businesses in the state, since more streamlined permit processes allow businesses and investors to more easily set timing parameters in their business plans.
The analysis also breaks down what is required and what agencies may be involved with securing permits for a project — information that may be useful for business owners looking to grow in Delaware, though if the recommendations are ultimately followed, the process will be faster in the future.-30-