THC has been day dreaming about ways to help address some of the most pressing problems in Humboldt. Of course, we have to call it day dreaming because, despite of how freaking awesome our ideas are, the thought of our government entities actually doing something positive can be met with only one response – you’re dreaming!
But we’ve stumbled on something that we think can make a real difference. Read on, and then tell us what you think in the comments below (or in those really kind emails you all keep sending us!)
A reader gave us a tip to read up on a program that a handful of cities and counties in California are already adopting, and which has already provided some promising results.
We are talking about permit simplicity – a program that allows businesses the obtain a permit for improvements to an existing building in one day. (We know – we almost didn’t believe it ourselves!)
A group, simply called “Permit Simplicity,” has a schnazzy website set up where you can read all about it. You can visit the site here: Permit Simplicity
In a nutshell, businesses can submit plans prepared by a designated, pre-qualified professional architect or engineer which will be reviewed by the planning staff, and a permit will be issued the next day. It’s so groovy we just can’t say how groovy it is enough times!
The permit simplicity program has already been put in place in Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Yolo County, Sacramento County, and Stockton, according to Permit Simplicity.
The fact that businesses could potentially have their improvement to buildings approved is great, but that application really only scratches the surface. THC is all worked up into a lather because we see huge potential for permit simplicity to help in many other ways.
First off, let’s point to economic growth potential for businesses trying to invest in the Humboldt Community. That’s reason enough in our mind, but the list goes on.
Allowing private architects and engineers to handle the process of vetting the plans will drive up the amount of work being given to the private sector. (Generally speaking, more work = more jobs.) On top of that, taking those duties away from planning staff would be a huge boon to those, ahem, chronically overworked and understaffed government agencies we keep hearing so much about in Humboldt. Plus, any reduction in the amount of time one has to spend dithering around with planning staff is an attractive proposition.
But what if this program were to expand beyond being available to only businesses, and only for improvements to existing buildings? What if homeowners, or people who want to build their own home, could utilize the program? Voila! Easier to build a house. We all know, from when THC touched on the idea previously, that increased housing stock of any type makes affordable housing for low-income folks way easier to find. Not to mention that the process could apply directly to building more affordable housing as well.
Finally, we think that permit simplicity could be a huge win in helping Humboldt County get people to actually register with the County for cannabis cultivation. Think about it – less direct involvement with the ever-untrustworthy Planning and Building Department could mean tons more people would be interested in signing up. Not to mention that providing an easy avenue for people to bring their currently un-permitted homes into compliance via quick and easy one-day permits for improvements would mean that’s one less barrier for people to qualify for these programs. This could actually help make the marijuana cash cow provide the fruits to County coffers the way all the Supervisors and Planning Commissioners want us to believe.
If we added in the online permit tracking program that Sonoma County has adopted – and which we also happened to write about recently – then THC thinks Humboldt might really be in business! What do you think?