Tue | May 23, 2017

Gov't to speed up building applications process

Published:Wednesday | March 31, 2010 | 3:00 AM

The Government has implemented a pilot Development Assistance Centre (DAC) within the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), to improve the turnaround time for building applications.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunication and Special Projects, Daryl Vaz, says the current development application approval process has been criticised as being inefficient, in terms of the time taken to process applications.

"Not only is the process reported to be tedious, due to the circuitous route of the applications and the involvement of a myriad of commenting agencies, but it is also costly to both the applicant and the Government," he told Parish Council representatives and other agency officials at a sensitisation presentation at Jamaica House on Monday.

"Along with the establishment of this two-tier system, it is hoped that the proposed DAC will considerably reduce the processing time for planning applications, thereby improving service delivery to applicants," he said.

Two-tier system

He further stated that the two-tier system for applications, characterised by large projects (tier one) and small projects (tier two), aims to eliminate the round-a-bout routing of applications by having the local authority, to whom the application is submitted, fully responsible and accountable for all aspects of the approval.

"The Centre will be opened within the next few weeks (May 3) and will certainly require your support and the support of all," Vaz urged.

Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Onika Miller, said the pilot project was expected to evaluate the operations of the DAC, in an effort to determine whether to retain or to replicate the approach at the local level.

She said NEPA has been selected to house the DAC, as it had been identified as having an existing support structure, which would allow for ease in evaluation and absorbing any bumps that a new DAC would encounter within the one-year timeline for the operation.

"Specifically, the DAC will ensure that the applications received by the local authorities or NEPA reflect accurate and adequate information, resulting in a smooth processing and a decision made within 90 days, as specified by the law," said Miller.

'Not only is the process reported to be tedious, due to the circuitous route of the applications and the involvement of a myriad of commenting agencies, but it is also costly to both the applicant and the Government.'