Dear Management Doctor:
Do you have any good sources for Planning application benchmarking studies? Particularly for tentative parcel maps (TPM)? Our Board of Supervisors (BOS) is interested in determining how fast our staff performs on applications in comparison to other jurisdictions. They are not particularly interested in recognizing any differences between complexity of projects or jurisdictional differences (i.e., counties vs. cities; developed vs. undeveloped areas; flatlands vs. mountain or desert areas).
Julie M. Rynerson
There is virtually no reliable data that I am aware of. Although we have done comparisons for a number of communities, I believe they are unreliable. They are generally based on mail surveys or telephone interviews. In our own practice, we know that what departments tell us and what we find when we actually document data are two different things.
Additionally, if your BOS is not interested in the variables you listed, they are off in a bad direction. For example, we find a tremendous difference from state to state. A TPM that might take 12 months in California might take 30 days in many Midwestern states. If I were you, I would make a few phone calls to other California counties and please send us the results.
You could also look at the book, Municipal Benchmarks, by David N. Ammons, Sage Publications, 2001. A few that they list are:
However, the book is not clear if this is total time or first-review time.
In California, of course, you could not process the environmental findings in the times listed above.A few we have studied include:
Depending on the size of project and environmental findings, I believe typical California times are 6 to 12 months. With complex environmental issues, it could be 12 to 36 months.
What I think is important is how long each review takes. I like the standard of either 14 or 21 working days. Then the second review time is cut in half and the third review time is cut in half again. Try not to worry about how long it takes the developer, but make certain your data separates out developer and county time.
Good luck with your BOS,
The Management Doctor