Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

The City of Santa Ana’s Public Works Agency has been increasing its efforts to streamline processes for homeowners, utility companies and developers. A permit process that used to take 18 weeks can now be completed in six. Every Tuesday for the next three months from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Public Works Director Fuad Sweiss will be available at the City Hall Public Counter to work with his staff to expedite requests and reviews.

“The City strives to serve its residents and stakeholders and I am pleased that Public Works is actively seeking to improve the level of customer service provided by staff,” said Santa Ana Councilmember Vincent Sarmiento.

The Public Works Agency is responsible for a large number of City services and programs, namely: building and maintaining all public streets, storm drains, sewers, and water facilities; coordinating the collection and recycling of refuse; street sweeping, landscaping and tree-trimming; and removing graffiti. Public Works also oversees the system that produces national award-winning drinking water, and works with developers to ensure that City development standards are met.

The permit process can require extensive staff time to make sure it meets city codes and standards. In the past, certain permits could take over 18 weeks to be reviewed and processed. In an effort to streamline the permit process and provide better customer service, Public Works has begun adding staff to the Development Engineering counter on the first floor of City Hall Ross Annex.

The Public Works Agency has been hiring additional employees, contracting out certain services, and exploring new methods to categorize permits according to complexity and establish certain thresholds for approving various types of permits. With the recent help of additional resources and a streamlined process, the permit process now only takes six weeks to complete.

“Last week, I brought a set of plans for the construction of a new Starbucks store to the Public Works counter. Mr. Sweiss and staff reviewed the plans and gave me their comments on the spot, which saved me time and helped my project go smoothly,” said Amir Houriani, a developer with several projects in Santa Ana.

In the last 12 months, Public Works staff has served approximately 3,500 Public Counter customers and completed/issued an estimated:
• 4,560 Permits
• 1,850 Plan Checks
• 1,200 Street Work and Utility Permits
• 850 Building Permit Releases
• 550 Wide Load Permits
• 110 Site Plan Reviews

“In recent months, the level of coordination for the issuance of maintenance permits has improved between Southern California Edison and the City of Santa Ana thanks to enhanced permit processes and regular meetings with the Public Works senior managers and staff,” said Karalee Darnell of Southern California Edison.

In addition to offering utility plan check support on Tuesday mornings, the Public Works Agency offers Development and Permit Parking assistance at the Public Counter on the following days and times:
• Development: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and every other Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Permit Parking: Monday – Thursday and every other Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information about Development Engineering services, please visit the Public Works counter at City Hall, call (714) 647-5039, or visit www.santa-ana.org/pw/engineering-services.

About City of Santa Ana
Santa Ana is downtown for the world famous Orange County, California. As the County Seat, home to a vibrant evening scene and one of the most diverse communities in California, Santa Ana is gaining national attention for its efforts to innovate and address a changing County. Over 1,200 City employees work hard every day to deliver efficient public services in partnership with our community to ensure public safety, a prosperous economic environment, opportunities for our youth, and a high quality of life for residents. Learn more at http://www.santa-ana.org.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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