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Posted on: January 22, 2024

Borer announces ‘long-overdue’ changes to West Haven Building Department

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WEST HAVEN, Jan. 22, 2024 — Mayor Dorinda Borer has announced a long-overdue revamp of the Building Department to modernize operations and “change the way the city does business.”

Effective immediately, Borer said the department is opening its doors an hour earlier, at 8 a.m., to better accommodate contractors and developers and to stimulate investment in West Haven.

The department’s new hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office is based on the first floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.

Also effective immediately, a fire marshal will be stationed in the Building Department on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to eliminate the need for builders to drive back and forth to City Hall and West Haven’s three fire departments.

“Previously, the process was cumbersome and archaic and didn’t make good businesses sense,” Borer said.

The mayor said the department is working to implement a new online permitting app to streamline the process for obtaining building and zoning permits.

“The app will be a one-stop shop for building and zoning permits and will help simplify the way business is done in West Haven,” Borer said.

The mayor has also proposed the elimination of a zoning signoff on projects that don’t require zoning by statute or charter. The proposal seeks to streamline the zoning process and eliminate the need to stand in two lines.

For changes in Building Department structure and process, Borer is proposing a $1 increase in the building permit fees’ combined fee from $24 to $25. The modest increase is based on $1,000 of the value of the work.

Borer is also proposing a $1 increase in the certificate of completion fee, or certificate of occupancy, from $24 to $25.

According to Building Official Frank Gladwin, building permit fees generate millions of dollars in annual revenue for the city, including $2.5 million in 2022-23 and more than $1.2 million since July 1, 2023.

Borer has drafted a communication to the City Council that in turn is required to update the Building Department fee schedule ordinance and gather public input to amend the ordinance. A date for public input will be announced soon.

Borer said she’s “laser-focused” on putting the city’s house in order in efforts to attract new investors.

In the near future, the Building Department will offer an option for payment by debit for convenience and to reduce cash flow, the mayor said.

Borer said she’s heard “loud and clear” that it’s difficult to do business with the city, adding, “These Building Department upgrades are one step toward changing that.”

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