Sept. 25, 2012
The County’s new Department of Planning and Development Services, in new offices, opened its doors to the public Tuesday at the County Operations Center, located at 5510 Overland Ave. in Kearny Mesa.
The new department combines land-use processes that used to be divided among various County departments, an action that aims to streamline the permitting process for customers, make it easier for them to navigate, reduce their costs and maintain the highest quality review standards.
County supervisors voted to create the new department in May as one of several measures to improve the County’s land-use permitting process.
Planning and Development Services merges the functions and staff of the previous Department of Planning and Land Use with some of the land-use staff and functions of the Department of Public Works and Department of Parks and Recreation. Several other departments that have roles in the County’s land-use permitting process — including portions of the Department of Environmental Health, County Counsel’s office and the San Diego County Fire Authority — are also located in the new offices.
Tuesday’s grand opening also included an open house event, which gave both the public and employees a chance to get accustomed to the new surroundings. The old Department of Planning and Land Use's offices were across the street at the County Operations Center annex on Ruffin Road.
The new offices, which are part of the County’s $381 million County Operations Center development project, feature several improvements for customers, including a business center in the lobby with workstations, basic office supplies, a copy machine, speakers inside and outside the lobby to allow customers to hear when land-use counters are ready to help them, and a new café in the permit center.
Some of the other land-use improvements the Board approved include:
- Creating a new citizens committee — the Land Development Performance Review Committee — that will meet twice a year to review the County’s land use performance and report back to the board.
- Fund a “Continuous Improvement Program.”
- Place renewed emphasis on project management, budget and cost management, customer perspective training and communication and organizational skills.
- Create mentorship and employee development programs for staff members to create a "culture change."