As Fort Worth continues to expand, the city is thinking strategically about how to improve processes, rather than remaining with the status quo. To assist in that endeavor, the Development Services Department is working to streamline the permit and application procedures for customers, starting with the certificate of occupancy.

Representatives from the Development Advisory Committee, Fort Worth Real Estate Council, Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, Society of Commercial Realtors, local consulting firms and other interested parties joined the City of Fort Worth Development Services Department to research how the city can improve the process for obtaining a certificate of occupancy in Fort Worth. The city consulted a professional in Lean Six Sigma practices to help the group identify, define, measure and analyze potential problems in the process, and optimize possible solutions. From this group, the Certificate of Occupancy Process Continuous Improvement Initiatives plan was created, outlining the strategy to address issues.

“It was important to us to include all the voices of our customers when we are looking to make progress,” said D.J. Harrell, director of the Development Services Department. “Getting such a varied group of people together gives us a much clearer, and wider, view of the wants and needs of our clients.”

The plan highlights several ways to address issues in the permit procedure, which will result in a higher level of service and synergy among customers and staff.

The department’s goal is to see a 50% reduction in the number of incomplete, and voided, certificate of occupancy permit applications, as well as a 25% reduction in the number of zoning application holds by the end of fiscal year 2022.

Commitment to improving the permit application process is a priority of the Development Services Department, and an ongoing one. The city plans to hire a full-time staff member to focus on improvements throughout all aspects of the development process.

“Ensuring our customer service is seamless and reliable is paramount,” Harrell said. “I am extremely appreciative of the hard work our assistant director Jennifer Roberts, department staff and other members of the group continue to do, because these changes and enhancements to the permit and application procedure are just the beginning, not the end.”

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