Surrey city hall’s campaign to expedite guaranteed permitting timelines for single family building permits, tenant improvement building permits and rezoning applications is making “significant progress,” according to a report that came before Surrey council recently.
For single family residence permits, the current processing time is 8.4 weeks, exceeding the established guaranteed target of 10 weeks. In the fourth quarter of 2021 it was 14.6 weeks above target and in the first quarter of 2022, 9.4 weeks below target.
Coun. Laurie Guerra noted that “things are getting resolved,” and Coun. Brenda Locke said it’s “a real step forward.”
Coun. Mandeep Nagra said Surrey residents are telling him they just want an update on “where their permits are, why the delays are there, if there’s anything more required of them. Once they hear that, get an update from staff, most of the time they’re quite satisfied.”
Coun. Linda asked city staff what happens if guaranteed timeline targets aren’t met.
“If we don’t deliver, then what?” she asked. She was told the city is putting in more effort, resources and conducting more reviewing of processes toward maintaining its targets.
“I’m also curious to know when we might be able to see some sort of results around multi-family, commercial and industrial,” Annis said. “That would be really useful to see as a councillor because our city is building so quickly, we know that a lot of those applications take a long time.”
Meantime, Mayor Doug McCallum said the times for approval needed to be improved. “Some of them are very, very fast now.”
“Both the federal government and the province are going to be tying a lot of their grants that they give to cities right across Canada and right across B.C. to timelines, and if cities will not guarantee those timelines they will not be getting the money from the federal government or the province,” McCallum said. Given the need for housing stock, he added, “we need to move quickly.”
The corporate report noted that the City of Surrey receives on average 931 new single family building permit applications annually. In the first quarter of 2022 Surrey received 266 single family building permit applications, 30 per cent more than that received in the first quarter of 2021.
The report indicates that the average processing time of tenant improvements in the fourth quarter of 2021 was seven weeks, in the first quarter of this year it was eight weeks and currently is 10.1 weeks. The established guaranteed target is 10 weeks.
The guaranteed target for single family rezoning permits is 12 weeks. The current processing time is 11.4 weeks. In the first quarter of 2022, it was 8.6 weeks.