SOUTH BEND — Home builders and other developers have long told St. Joseph County officials that the process for getting permits for projects is plagued by delays.
County officials say that is because it is difficult for building, planning, public works and economic development departments to share information needed for permits.
A plan has been hatched, however, to retool the process.
The plan calls for two big changes: Getting departments to use the same electronic permitting system for projects, and transforming the county-owned Law Building into a one-stop shop for building projects by moving various departments there.
The three-story Law Building, on Lafayette Boulevard across from the County-City Building, is currently the home of the South Bend-St. Joseph County Building Department, which occupies the first floor.
But by the end of next year, county officials plan to relocate the Area Plan Commission, Department of Public Works and Office of Economic Development from the County-City Building to the Law Building, where they would occupy the third floor.
Those three departments will be consolidated, operating as one “team” that specializes in different areas, said Bill Schalliol, the county’s economic development director.