Mayor calls for city to keep pace with development opportunities

Sept. 2016 – Recognizing the economic boom under way in San Jose, Mayor Sam Liccardo has pledged to do his part to make sure that the city captures as much economic growth as possible.

Liccardo has convened the Ad-Hoc Committee of Development Services to streamline the permitting process for big and small businesses.

“Implementing process improvements and staffing-up, will reinforce investor and business confidence in San Jose and improve the customer experience,” Liccardo said.

That means getting as many “shovels in the ground” as possible, Liccardo added. Citywide, developers have applications in for 7 million square feet of office/R&D, commercial and retail space, and 4,000 units of mid-rise and high-rise homes, and Liccardo wants city development staff – including public works, planning and inspection – to keep pace.

The committee will also focus on streamlining the process for small businesses to start and grow. The committee could bolster the Small Business Ally Program and emphasize a program under development that will make it easier for restaurants to navigate the complexities of the permit-approval process. Currently, several restaurants proposed downtown are involved in a model program meant to ease permit congestion.

The City of San Jose has also initiated an
$8 million upgrade to its permitting-related technology, which will result in a more paperless process: electronic submission and review, on-line permit approvals and remote access for inspectors in the field.

The committee also includes Vice Mayor Rose Herrera and councilmembers Raul Peralez, Johnny Khamis and Manh Nguyen. Its first meeting was Aug. 25. Upcoming meetings are set for Sept. 29, Oct. 27, Nov. 18 and Dec. 15, all in the City Manager’s Conference Room at City Hall.

Customers and the general public will be allowed to provide feedback. Meetings will also address process improvements, Development Services staffing, and status reports on developments engaged in the simplified processes.

The Downtown Association has advocated for a more simplified permitting process for more than 25 years. Preceding mayors Chuck Reed, Ron Gonzalez and Susan Hammer have all initiated measures to improve city government permit systems.