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Navigating the Permitting Process - Real Estate and Land Use News

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Real Estate and Land Use News


Posted on: Mar 18, 2020

By Sonya J. Seeder, Department of Business and Neighborhood Services

Knowing what permits to apply for and when is key to keeping any residential or commercial construction project on schedule. Unforeseen required revisions or variances can cause costly delays and cause frustration for your client. Here is what you should know about the permitting process.

  1. Meet with the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services (DBNS) BEFORE you apply for permits. No plans, no problem! DBNS is happy to meet early in the project planning phase to provide input on permits needed and issues that may arise at the municipal or state level that could delay your project. Open Counter Indy is a great resource for preliminary zoning and business permitting research.
  2. You need more permits than you think. A new structure commonly needs four different permits. A drainage permit is necessary to start moving dirt to get the project started. An improvement location permit is a zoning review that is required for any new building or change in footprint of an existing building. The structural permit ensures the building meets local and state requirements. Lastly, craft permits like electrical, plumbing and HVA, are issued. There are a handful of other permits such as flood, wrecking, driveway and street construction that may be applicable to your project.  
  3. You may need other approvals. Your project may require replatting, a variance, rezoning or other local approvals through current planning, Regional Center and IHPC. In addition, Class 1 structures could need a variance from the state. Infrastructure concerns such as stormwater drainage, easements and grants of right of way require review by both the Dept. of Public Works and Office of Corporation Counsel.
  4. Apply early and concurrently. Apply for all permits as early as possible even if there is something outstanding that will prevent the permits from being issued, such a variance or IHPC/Regional Center approval. These processes can be lengthy and reviewing all needed permits early prevents costly or timely issues arising down the line. While permits must be issued in a particular order, they can be reviewed concurrently. You can apply for permits and monitor their progress here
  5. Be prepared to provide revisions. The reality is that most permit submittals aren’t perfect when submitted. Build in extra time to allow for revisions to submitted and reviewed.

Early preparation and communication can prevent your client from frustrating and costly delays. DBNS is happy to provide assistance so your project can be completed on time without any surprises.

If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Real Estate & Land Use Section, please email Kara Sikorski at ksikorski@indybar.org.

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