Bay County, a "Quick Permitting County", recognizes the importance of streamlining the permitting process and has made the following steps toward this end.
- Points of contact have been established for businesses seeking assistance in obtaining a permit: for Building Permits and code questions, contact Michael Geralds, Deputy Building Official, Bay County Builders Services Division, 840 West 11th Street, Panama City, Florida 32401, 850-248-8350, Fax 850-248-8384, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; and for questions regarding zoning, land use, parking, Development Orders, etc. Planning & Zoning, 840 West 11th Street, Panama City, Florida 32401, 850-248-8250, Fax 850-248-8267, e-mail email@example.com. Bay County encourages pre-application meetings for all proposed development projects.
- Significant economic development projects may be selected for accelerated permit review using the criteria established by Florida's Expedited Permitting Process. See Land Development Regulations Section 1804 "Streamlined Permitting for Development Projects". Factors that have been considered for certain projects in the past include retention or expansion of existing businesses, new jobs created, diversification of the economic base, and enhancement of basic infrastructure such as adequate telecommunications, electric power, public utilities, etc.
- An inventory of priority industrial/business sites and a list of consultants who conduct business in Bay County is maintained by the Chamber of Commerce's Office of Economic Development. You may contact Mr. Ted Clem, Executive Director, 850.785.5206 or visit the web site at http://www.baycountyeda.org.
- Bay County has worked to eliminate duplicative approval and permitting requirements within its jurisdiction. For instance, Builders Services handles residential development review and approval for several of the municipalities within the County, and performs fire safety plan reviews and inspections for specific municipalities and the unincorporated County.
- A goal of three-day turn around time has been established for residential plan review and permitting; a ten day turn around time for commercial projects. Those with missing paperwork, needed changes, or requiring more detailed review; such as, a major development or a project requiring a zoning change, will take longer. Processing development approvals are governed by the County's Land Development Regulations which specify the review period for development projects.
- Bay County has established an Inter Agency Permit Coordination Task Force for purposes of expediting permit review of important development projects. The focus of the task force is to bring all permitting agencies to the table at one time and to further assign permit review to an individual with each agency to serve as a point of contact for the developer.