Even when a business wants to move to Oxnard and finds a location that is properly zoned, it can still take months to get a permit to build a commercial building or to construct a tenant improvement. And in some cases, businesses are not told what requirements they need to meet until they are long into the design process.
Would you be willing to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to locate a business to Oxnard and not know whether you will be allowed in?
Our reputation has caused some architects and contractors to recommend to others that they avoid opening a business here in Oxnard.
And it’s not just businesses that have problems with our broken system. Residents wanting to remodel and upgrade their homes face obstacles and costly delays.
The fundamental problem is that we are giving too much power to unaccountable city officials who are able to withhold the approval of permits and impose unfair and costly requirements on residents and businesses. Too often, Oxnard’s permit process has become arbitrary and capricious—to the financial detriment of our entire community.
Fortunately, there is a better way.
Phoenix, Arizona has developed a self-certification program that eliminates plan review by allowing licensed engineers and architects who complete a training program to take responsibility for and certify a project’s compliance with building code, standards and ordinances. In many cases, plans that are self-certified are approved for a building permit in one day. The city retains the right to go to the construction site and conduct an audit. If they find violations, they can require that fixes be made and can discipline the licensed professionals who approved the plans, even going so far as to eject them from the self-certification program. Not only is this more efficient, it’s actually safer.
And now other cities are adopting this approach. This self-certification program is now being implemented in California in the cities of Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova.
We can be the first city in Ventura County to implement this innovative approach. Done right, permit streamlining will gain us a competitive edge over other cities seeking to attract businesses. That means more employment in Oxnard.
That means more shopping opportunities.
And for homeowners, it means that more people will be able to improve their homes. And when your neighbors improve their homes, it helps your home go up in value too.
We propose enacting the “Oxnard Permit Simplicity Act” to bring the self-certification program to our city. We need your help to get this on the ballot and persuade voters to adopt it.