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Monday, 07 April 2014 21:47

Case Study: Chase Bank

Written by Fenn Moun
Project Overview Permit Place completed a new ground up corner location for a 5,000 square foot Chase Bank along Bollinger Avenue in San Jose, California. Chase Bank approached Permit Place with one of several new bank layouts for an immediate term rollout of all new Bank branch. One of the biggest challenges was coordinating public improvement permits to coincide with tenant improvement permits. The scope of work included extensive landscaping, grading, and utility coordination to provide approved lighting design and roadway and sidewalk design.  Industry: Banking - Retail Project Type: National rollout   Challenges Chase Bank in partnership with Permit Place to assist with many new construction projects which consisted of a new ground up 5,000 square foot bank with new teller window options, exterior ATM frontage and building design that was harmonious with an existing retail center. The bank is located in one of San Jose’s highest traffic corner (Bollinger and Miller) and emphasized the importance of properly scaled building, prominent landscaping, and effectuated a street and pedestrian-friendly design that leveraged Chase Bank ATMs to customers and patrons along a pedestrian path of travel. Furthermore, stipulations within the entitlement approval required landscaping and trees to be consistent with Migratory Bird Treaty Act as well as California Department of Fish and Game Code. Several factors presented opportunities for PermitPlace to shine, including pushing for Building, Grading, and Utility permit approvals.   Solutions Permit Place expeditiously completed an initial due diligence report of the project to communicate the associated costs, timeframe, and expectations to our client. We worked alongside designers and architects to find suitable location for ATM frontage along with coordinating multi-agency permit reviews and plan reviews. PermitPlace logistically coordinated permit approvals within precise calendar months to preclude violation of any migratory raptor bird nesting seasons in compliance with Fish and Game codes. We understood the hardships and challenge with interacting with several multiple agencies often with conflicting requirements and ambiguous procedures.  We negotiated approval on Grading Permits while working on Building and Mechanical plan reviews. We received early start permit for Grading on-site in order to meet deadlines consistent with conditions implemented as part of the entitlement approval. We offered expedited reviews from all disciplines, and by developing close rapport with City staff developed a simultaneous review process for each department saving significant time for our client. We obtained all necessary external clearances including: school fee clearance, sewer connections, utility coordination permits, lighting design clearance, and street bond clearances. We followed up during the inspection process to ensure there were no construction delays, as well as establishing clear communication between architects, plan reviewers and field inspectors that served as a basis for future relationships. Results Despite challenges on all fronts in the development process, PermitPlace delivered on time. We obtained all necessary permits, complying with State environmental laws and regulations while providing our client with a clear timetable for construction and occupancy. We developed a clear response and supported contractors and engineers throughout the construction and development phase. Our results were successful, resulting in further post-permit amendments that enhanced the Bank’s interior architectural features. In conclusion, we complied with all environmental clearances (Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration); Conditions imposed as part of the Conditional Use Permit, Site Development Permit, Grading Permit, Building Permit, and Utility permits. We mitigated any issues and concerns that were unexpected during this process and maintained a design and architectural layout that satisfied Chase Bank’s high traffic count. Our determined approach transformed the project from a multi-agency review to a consolidated effort. We are always looking for new challenges!
Project Overview Permit Place completed the Alexander McQueen flagship retail store in San Francisco’s downtown  core and within the ground level of a historic hotel. Along with the challenges of navigating San  Francisco’s development process, the historically significant landmark building posed additional  challenges from a design perspective with respect to implementing the vision of Alexander  McQueen’s beautifully intricate yet prominent street-facing façade along Geary Street.    Industry:  High Value Retail - Consumer  Project Type:  Flagship Store    Challenges: Alexander McQueen’s vision for a San Francisco flagship store was enthusiastically championed for by Permit Place.  We challenged the City on all fronts including:   How to design an architectural layout consistent with the City’s chain store regulations along Geary Street.  Obtaining permits to alter a designated landmark building and retrofitting a new marble façade store entryway  Navigated the building and construction process with a plethora of permits and reviews from all trades (Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire, Disability codes and regulations).  Consulting and supporting a team of architects and engineers to achieve a quality design while maintaining costs advantageous to the client.  Hit key milestone deadlines-including achieving timely construction permits and permits to alter historically designated buildings. Multi-tiered review was consolidated into a single review track.  Case Study: Alexander McQueen – San Francisco Solutions  Permit Place expeditiously completed an initial due diligence report of the project to communicate the  associated costs, timeframe, and expectations to our client. The project was met with a pre-consultation  meeting with certified planners of our own, architects, and City officials. The project was split into dual phases  with each review occurring simultaneously. While plans were reviewed by building and mechanical engineers,  we worked alongside architects to craft an exterior store entryway that met the vision of Alexander McQueen.  We provided valuable insight regarding the City’s street-façade improvement regulations in the downtown core.  We worked to mitigate issues relating to non-compliance of fire codes from an existing, pre-dated hotel. We  consulted with City architects and engineers to achieve a cohesive interior and exterior design that reflected the  concept of a true flagship store. We submitted, pushed, and followed through with an application to the  Historical Commission for review and approval of our store concept. We understood the conflicts of navigating  San Francisco’s own handicap and disability laws and regulations. In conclusion, we achieved and met the  challenges on all fronts of the development process and tied it altogether for our clients. We enthusiastically  accepted the challenge and accomplished our client’s vision.    Results  Permit Place was successful in obtaining tenant improvement permits, fire permits, planning permits, and  permits to alter a historically significant building. We finished on time and under budget and provided support  for the project with an incredible dynamic team of engineers, architects, and general contractors through the  inspection process. We mitigated issues that were brought forth and unexpected to any single architectural  firm. We developed rapport, created weekly updated reports, and maintained projects costs and timeframe  translating into significant savings to our client. We used a unique cost-driven approach, while still maintaining  excellent rapport with City officials to achieve a design consistent with our client’s vision. Our experience and  dedication transformed a seemingly complicated project to a single track review and approval.    Permit Place Project Manager, Fenn Moun 
Outdoor dining and shopping can make for an exciting and fun downtown experience.  In order to offer  outdoor dining and shopping, local businesses must apply for the proper permits.  Sidewalk dining and shopping permits are known at the city as R-Permits.  The R stands for Revocable and these permits allow for the right to do some sort of activity in the public right of way.  They are usually temporary in nature and include strict provisions in order to maintain the permit.  They can often take up to one year to get approved.  On November 6th, 2013, the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of enacting a pilot process to test out a new method for issuing sidewalk encroachment permits for downtown historic core addresses.  The new method was devised by the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering earlier this year to minimize the cost of these permits for business owners, and to reduce the number of staff hours needed to evaluate and grant this specific type of permit.  Beginning in early 2014 the city plans to implement the new pilot program.     The new pilot process will first run in Downtown Los Angeles’ Historic core.  More specifically, this pilot applies to ground floor retail properties located on 1st through 7th between Los Angeles and Broadway which  are able to apply for sidewalk dining r-permits with reduced fees and expedited application processing.   For properties in the pilot area, the estimated processing time for complete & non-controversial cases could be as little as 1 to 14 days. This pilot process is slated to terminate in 2016.  Therefore, Historic Core businesses are encouraged to take advantage of the new pilot program when it becomes available. Although the City of Los Angeles is demonstrating initiative to find a better way to issue R-Permits, there are still some details that could cause an applicant frustration.  For example, an applicant can be disqualified from taking advantage of this pilot program, if:  ●A proposed encroachment is granted and the neighbors complain, the permit is temporarily revoked until the discrepancy is resolved.   If the issue is not resolved, the permit is permanently revoked unless the applicant removes fixtures and pays a $7000 deposit to start the application process again on normal timeframes (up to a year).   ●Incomplete applications, discrepancies in measurements, and insufficient documentation would be deemed controversial and could potentially cause staff to spend more time evaluating and investigating the site. More staff time = higher fees The best way to have your revocable permits done right is to use a knowledgeable permit expediter.  A good permit expeditor will take the responsibility of tasks like site profiling, application preparation, submittals and reviews, tailoring site depictions that appropriately describe the scope of work.  Permit Place, a Los Angeles planning and permit expediting firm specializing in acquiring permits of all kind for commercial retail uses, has filed many sidewalk permits in Los Angeles.  Permit Place is the preferred expeditor partnering with the downtown business community to take advantage of the opportunity presented by this pilot program.  Permit Place’s expert planners and experienced permit technicians are have the experience and relationships necessary to get your revocable permits approved in the new pilot program.  As the Historic Core Sidewalk Dining pilot program will only run for two years, Permit Place is making an effort to help as many downtown businesses as possible take advantage of the benefits of having a sidewalk permit.  If you are a café or a retailer, talk to a Planner at Permit Place today at 1 (877) 277-4289 to evaluate your R-Permit business strategy at no cost.  Permit Place will be visible in the Historic Core, at community meetings and visiting downtown businesses to begin realizing the benefits of storefront & streetscape furniture. Sources: City of Los Angeles, City Council. (2013, August).  Report from Public Works: Engineering.  Historic Core Sidewalk Dining (Council File No. 13-0658). Retrieved from http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2013/13-0658_rpt_boe_08-19-2013.pdf   Interviews: Blair Besten,  Executive Director, Historic Downtown L.A. Business Improvement District
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It never fails. You have a multi-million dollar idea of putting a particular business at a particular location. The corner is perfect. The demographics suit the nature and demand of the store, service or restaurant. There is just one big problem-the city is not on board. Just what can be done when a city (township, borough, village, county or parish) is not inclined to allow your project? First off, you cannot hear a “no” without first proposing a question. So you would undoubtedly speak to and present your proposal to city staff and they would give you a reason for the denial. Are you proposing a commercial business in a residential zone? Is your proposed use not allowed in a particular zone?  They would cite a code (if they don’t, ask them to) and then you could do your own research Research – Is the information that city staff is telling you accurate? Remember the person at a city counter can make a mistake. There may be exceptions within the code that they were not aware of and fail to inform you of. They may have even mistyped the address and given you the wrong development criteria. Double-check their work! Often the city code is online and accessible for you to do your own homework. Second, if your project is not an allowable use, find out if the project can be done using planning tools such as a variance or conditional use permit (a.k.a. CUP). Exceptions – Can I do this via a variance or conditional use permit? In virtually all jurisdictions, you can propose whatever you would like to build; however, you would also do well to get feedback on whether said variance/CUP would be supported or not by the city code before vesting in the site. Next, if your proposed use is not allowed by right or does not qualify for a variance or CUP you can always move up the departmental ladder to get help. In departments, the highest ranking official is usually the Senior Planner or Planning Director.  If your proposed project does not meet the code or gain their support, your next alternative is to approach legislative bodies to seek a code amendment, or legislative solution to get your project approved.  Examples of legislative bodies include, City Council, the Mayor’s office, the economic development lead agency or the Planning Commission.  The legislative route best suites large developments that can boast public benefits such as new revenues and job creation.  The political machine tends to favor projects that generate tax revenue and jobs. While this list is not necessarily exhaustive, it should provide you a foundation of some of the options to receive the “blessings” from city staff for your project.  One must also realize that there is still the possible reality that a project cannot be built at all. If it does not fall under the jurisdiction’s criteria for that zone, cannot be built according to building codes, and cannot be achieved through any sort of variance, you’ll have to face the facts that the project simply cannot be built. James Matthews serves as a Senior Project Manager at Permit Place, a national building permit and land entitlement solutions provider. James may be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Last modified on Monday, 28 October 2013 17:58
So you finally decided to take the plunge and plow your savings into a franchise restaurant concept.  Excellent move.  Franchise systems can help first time business owner's make the transition from employee to owner status.  What you may not have anticipated was how long and complicated the construction permit process can take.   For example, if you are signing a lease for a space did you know that if the space you are leasing was not a restaurant before, you may be forced to wait weeks or even months to receive a building permit? The reason is that you are changing the use of the space from a retail space to a restaurant space.  This requires a different set of rules that you have to follow to ensure that there is parking, seating, health permits, and even a conditional use permit if you are serving beer and wine.  All of the permits and regulations can be overwhelming for a first time franchise owner. Fortunately, if you want to get to opening as soon as possible, building permit expediting consultants or building permit expediters may be your secret weapon to getting open earlier with a minimum amount of hassle.   Building permit expediting is the process of focusing on the building codes, approval process and requirements necessary to get the permit through more quickly than if it was left on it's own.   Many architects supply building permit expediting as a service but what is not known is that architects don't typically complete this work in house.  They will hire building permit expediting firms called permit expediters to complete the process.   The key is to get building permit expediting from a company that is local or has local people and has completed projects in that city or county or state before.  You also would want to make sure that they have had experience with your type of project, converting a retail space to a restaurant and has good relationships at the building department.  By going with a professional company that has plenty of experience when it comes to construction as well as the local building regulations and codes, you can be sure to get the building permit that you need with a significantly smaller waiting time than if you were to go the standard route. For you, this means being able to break ground on your new construction sooner rather than later, which will not only save you time but money as well. From there, you can get your building erected and have it fully functional weeks or even months sooner than you would have by going through the standard process of applying for a building permit.
Friday, 10 May 2013 18:53

What is a building permit expediter

Written by Mike Robinson
What is a building permit expediter Issued building permits for both residential and commercial projects have jumped in recent years thanks to easy financing and an interest in starting delayed building projects.  What’s different this time is that homeowners have started using a secret weapon used by commercial developers for years.  That secret weapon is hiring building permit expediters to help their projects through the City permit process.  Building permit expediters are consultants that play a behind-the-scenes role in helping get permits through City Hall.  Basically, building permit expediters get paid to understand the local building codes and advise the owner’s, architects and engineers on how to get their building projects approved more quickly.  Building permit expediters will go to City Hall and wait for their clients to see City Officials and discuss blueprint revisions with plan examiners.  Building Permit Expediter also have extensive Planning experience an will be paid to represent their clients at zoning, architectural review and variance hearings.The building permit expediter role is typically that of a facilitator between the City’s staff and how staff may interpret their local building and zoning codes and the owner or the owner’s consultants such as Architects.  The building permit expediter may even work on behalf of the owner’s architect rather than the architect themselves as it often represents a cost savings to the owner and helps keep their architect’s overhead costs down.   Rather than keep an expensive Land Use Planner and Code Consultant on staff, an architect can simply hire a building permit expediter’s to augment their permanent staff as their “insider” and these costs can passed onto their client rather than in their overhead.  A building permit expediter will typically work with hundreds of projects within hundreds of different cities, counties and departments within these entities.  This gives a building permit expediter a unique “inside” perspective and the owner can then have helping to guide the costs and scope of the project. Having someone on your side who has a good relationship and familiarity with local officials and the process is the most effective way to ensure that permits arrive quickly instead of in months.Building permit expediters typically charge by the hour or by the project.  Buiding permit expediters used to be used more as “paper-pushers” before the big housing bust.  These days, they are typically multi-disciplined professionals that do more than act as a courier.  A good building permit expediter should have one or more certifications in real estate development and have experience in both zoning and building code interpretation.  Now, expediters are increasingly hired by engineers, architects and owners to advise them on complex problems like how to interpret zoning code to allow more square footage within a parcel or how to get all the documents in perfect order so that the project is accepted for submittal the first time.  Like lawyers, expediters can bill by the hour or the project and usually retain a computer like memory of the current city codes and can negotiate for you from a place of knowledge with high-level officials. Expediters work best when brought in early and assigned the role to assist the architect in anticipating any design issues might pop up. "Expediting is now becoming more like a Code Consulting than ever before.” States Mike Robinson, President of Permit Place, a Building Permit Expediting firm based out of Los Angeles. “Building Permit Expediters are becoming more and more accepted as professionals that can contribute significantly to reduce time and costs to the homeowner.”  If you want to be successful with your home improvement project, I would strongly suggest at least speaking to an expediter.”  Many building permit expediters will tell you what they know about a City or County’s process before you have to commit to hiring them.  They usually perform minor research or due diligence on the property in question and should provide you with a small report about what it will take to permit your project, how long, what applications and what the costs will be. 
Thursday, 02 May 2013 23:31

What's the Planning Commission

Written by Mike Robinson
A Planning Commission consist of residents of a community whose members are appointed by cities or counties elected officials for a term established by the jurisdiction where they serve.  The commission promotes the health, safety and general welfare by encouraging the most appropriate use of the land.    They undertake long-range planning for development that includes preparation and maintenance of the general, specific and area plans, as well as reviewing Environmental Impact Reports and capital improvement projects.  Their short-range planning efforts include zoning matters dealing with land use changes, rezones, subdivision and parceling of land, special and conditional use permits, and variances.        Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the council or supervisors, so commission membership changes in response to changes in those bodies.   The commission usually considers several items at each meeting, considering each proposal separately and taking acting before moving on to the next item.  Their decision may be referred to the city council as a recommendation for action or considered a final action unless appealed to the council or board.   Elected officials may assign tasks to its planning commission.  Such tasks include: •    Assist in writing the general plan and community or specific plans •    Annual review of jurisdiction’s capital improvement program and public works projects of other local agencies •    Undertake special planning studies •    Promote public outreach •    Report to the elected officials  on the conformity of public land acquisition or disposal   The commission is the elected official’s advisor on land use planning.  The elected official may choose to follow the recommendation of the commission or not.  They can even reverse or modify commission actions or send proposals back to them for further review.  Their decisions are subject to appeal.  Remember the council and board have the final say in all city and county matters.   Therefore, an effective Planning Commission shares the following qualities: •    Ability to focus on the zoning or planning matter under consideration •    Clear view of the big picture of what’s happening in the city or their district and not being bogged down in excessive attention to minor details •    Informed commissioners by reading reports and documents prior to the meeting •    Attention to basic legal requirements in mind such as general plan consistency, meeting all applicable requirements, elimination or reduction of environmental impacts, and etc, •    An open flow of ideals and discussion among all involved parties, including being objective and asking lots of questions                    
Thursday, 02 May 2013 21:31

Whats a conditional use permit

Written by Mike Robinson
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What's a conditional use permit? Def. A conditional use permit is a discretionary permit.  That is, a permit that, although allowed in a particular zoning district, are only permitted under certain conditions, is granted at the discretion of the governing body and is typically revocable.  In order to secure these discretionary or conditional decisions, the business or land owner must formally propose what they plan to use the property for and then the Planning Staff, Commission or Hearing Officer must review these applications through an administrative or public hearing process.  If the governing body does not think the proposed use is consistent with the zoning of the property, they may deny or delay the application.  They also or approve the use conditionally with a conditional use permit..   This means that along with the approval, they may impose strict conditions upon which you are allowed to operate.  Failure to go along with these conditions can get you conditional use permit revoked and the business owner or landlord would no longer be allowed that use. What would be an example.   An example of such a conditional use permit would be a local neighborhood restaurant that wants to serve beer and wine to their customers.  The conditional use permit would allow the sale of on site consumption of beer and wine only on premises.   If the restaurant subsequently started to have dancing, with live music and patio service, and those activities are not included in the application for Conditional Use, then the business owner may be in violations of the conditions that allowed them the beer and wine sales for on site consumption only.  They did not include patio service, bottle service, dancing and live music in the conditional use application. Written governmental permission allowing a use inconsistent with zoning but necessary for the common good, such as locating an emergency medical facility in a predominantly residential area. www.kellychancy.com/glossary.php   Authorizes uses not routinely allowed on a particular site and generally subject to certain conditions www.lajollahistory.org/la-jolla/preservation/common-terms-pres…   is given to certain classes of land use the are not permitted by right in some or all zones of the county, but are nevertheless recognized as being desirable to the full function of the county under appropriate circumstances. ... www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/glossary/glossary-home.html   A process which provides for public input and review of certain uses which require special consideration because of their unique site development requirements and operating characteristics. CUP is a means of regulating the use of property in a zone where they are not permitted by right. ... www.cityofrc.us/cityhall/planning/glossary.asp   a grant approved by a planning and Zoning Commission allowing, with conditions, a special use of property that is the public interest. www.allaboutskyscrapers.com/dictionary/c.htm   means a document signed by the administrator specifying the requirements for which a conditional use may be permitted within a parcel. A conditional use is a use permitted within a district other than a permitted use. ci.marshfield.wi.us/code/Default.htm   Legal authorization to undertake a conditional use, issued by the administrative official pursuant to authorization by the Board of Adjustment consisting of two parts: www.mccrackenfiscalcourt.com/zoning/Definitions.html   A permit, with conditions, allowing an approved use on a site outside the appropriate zoning class. www.jeruzalgaelink.com/glossary_main.php
Last modified on Tuesday, 30 November 1999 00:00
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 20:43

What is a building permit

Written by Mike Robinson
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A building permit contains information concerning a construction projects compliance to the applicable building codes for residential or commercial structures. Building codes are enforced by municipalities for these projects in order to ensure that safety and aesthetic designs adhere to certain covenant restrictions required by their municipal code within those specific locations. Significance It is very import to obtain the proper building permit for all construction related projects. One reason that permits are required is so that the government can maintain proper safety regulations for all types of public and private property. The second most important concern is that permits allow builders and contractors to learn how to best employ applicable building safety codes on every level. Scope Owners, builders, developers and contractors or anyone else concerned with a construction project are expected to follow building permit rules and regulations so that structures are safe to occupy. Electricians, plumbers and others will secure what are sometimes called trade permits. It is a common to believe that building permits are only required when buildings are being constructed. However, many areas require that a building permit be in place even when making improvements or repairs, improvements or additions to structures. Timeline Depending upon the amount of construction that is going on in any given area, permit applications can take as long as 4 weeks on average to review. Also, there are times when permits will not be accepted by relevant officials for certain reasons. When this occurs, builders will receive notification including the changes necessary so that the building permit may be granted. Since performing construction work without a permit usually results in a fine, it is critical to ensure that all necessary documentation is in place prior to embarking upon any property improvement or construction project. Building permits and building code is as old as civilization itself. The ancient kingdom of Babylonia had a building code called the Code of Hammurabai that laid out how the builders of the day could construct the different buildings. Lately the trend in building permits have been to issue them online. Depending on the city or county where they live, Homeowners can often apply for simple permits online such as dishwasher, water heater, window and re-roofing permits. These permits are generally easy to secure and only require a minimum amount of time and effort to secure. Permit Place is a building permit expediting and code consulting firm based in Los Angeles. If you have more questions about building permits, please contact us.
Last modified on Monday, 06 May 2013 22:35
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Open Your Business Faster with Building Permit Expediting Are you eager to open your new business, only to find out that you may have to wait weeks or even months to receive a building permit? If so, then you know just how frustrating this can be. Fortunately, if you want to get to building as soon as possible, there are some steps that you can take to get the permit that you need without as much of a wait. The key is to get building permit expediting from a company that you can trust, which you can find right at this website. By going with a professional company that has plenty of experience when it comes to construction as well as the local building regulations and codes, you can be sure to get the building permit that you need with a significantly smaller waiting time than if you were to go the standard route. For you, this means being able to break ground on your new construction sooner rather than later, which will not only save you time but money as well. From there, you can get your building erected and have it fully functional weeks or even months sooner than you would have by going through the standard process of applying for a building permit. So why wait longer if you do not have to? Get your building permit expedited by trusting your permit application to a team of dedicated and experienced construction professionals. You will be happy you did when you have your permit in no time.
Last modified on Monday, 06 May 2013 22:38
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