The City of Huntington was honored at a permitting recognition reception Wednesday, Feb. 20, hosted by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and HPG Network.
“The city is honored to have its staff from the Community Development and Redevelopment Department work collaboratively with other jurisdictions and stakeholders for the benefit of Huntington and all of Northeast Indiana again this past year,” said Bryn Keplinger, director of Community Development and Redevelopment. “We were able to further build upon the implementation of process improvements that better meet the needs of larger projects and high-volume permittees. I’m excited about the strides we have made and look forward to our continued participation and improvement in 2019.”
Streamlined business permitting is a top priority in the region’s business attraction efforts through the Vision 2030 initiative, spearheaded by the Regional Partnership. HPG Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating thriving communities, manages the PEC on behalf of the Regional Partnership.
The collaborative effort aims to increase Northeast Indiana’s business-friendly environment by making it easier and faster for companies to obtain appropriate permits to build and expand in the region, encouraging economic growth.
The 12 participating jurisdictions in the Permitting Excellence Coalition (PEC) include Allen County/City of Fort Wayne, City of Angola, City of Decatur, DeKalb County, Huntington County, City of Huntington, City of New Haven, Rome City, Steuben County, City of Wabash, Wells County and Whitley County/City of Columbia City.
PEC representatives met throughout 2018 to focus on process and communication improvements that align with the core customer values of consistency, transparency and easy access. Notable accomplishments last year included:
• Collection of data from each jurisdiction to compile regional data and understand the collective regional impact of the work of the PEC.
• Communication with stakeholders and potential investors through a marketing flier and webpage.
• Ongoing collaboration between jurisdictions.
The PEC achieved these results by administering a customer service survey region-wide, creating a uniform communication piece for potential investors, tracking annual metrics, standardizing websites, creating a PEC membership badge and comparing fees for various types of projects.
After more than four years of collaboration, the Permitting Excellence Coalition continues to work on its three core values of consistency, transparency and easy access. Keplinger says the group’s efforts in 2019 will allow it to better measure and communicate the effectiveness of the permitting process in order to meet customer needs.
John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said planning and building departments are critical local infrastructure that support the development of businesses and homes that will accompany the region’s population growth.
“No other region in the country has shown the tenacity to pursue streamlined permitting processes the way we have in Northeast Indiana,” he said. “The PEC’s determination to streamline their permitting processes gives Northeast Indiana a competitive advantage in attracting new businesses and encouraging growth in the region’s existing businesses.”
To learn more, visit the website at neindiana.com/ permitting.