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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Plan for 3-day closure: Dec. 9, 12 and 13

Berkeley, California (Thursday, December 01, 2016) - The City's redesigned Permit Service Center will open on December 14, where improved technology, more accessible space and better coordination with other departments will help us better serve those seeking building and planning permits.

New design and technology will improve efficiency, decrease wait times, and improve communication between clients and staff. The customer-focused new center has been designed to provide a more welcoming and comfortable environment, including fifty percent more counter stations to serve clients.

To ensure a smooth transition, the Permit Service Center will close on Friday, Dec. 9 and will re-open to the public on Wednesday Dec. 14 at its new location: the third floor of 1947 Center Street.

The City's online permit center, which is available 24/7, allows people to research building permits, look into zoning history, and check the status of active permit applications. Clients can also use the portal to receive and respond to electronic plan check comments.

The Permit Service Center improvements are part of an effort to improve customer service throughout the Planning Department, other divisions of which will move to 1947 Center Street in early 2017. In addition to consolidating City space and saving money, the move will better integrate Planning with other City departments.

The Building + Safety Division - which comprises Building Inspection, Rental Housing Inspection, and other functions under the auspices of the City's Building Official - will move at the same time as the Permit Service Center.

Building and Rental Housing Inspections will remain available through the transition, although some systems may operate at reduced capacity as they are restored in the new offices.  On-line services will also remain available, such as scheduling building inspections, and will be the most reliable way to obtain services during the move.

The remaining parts of the Planning Department will move to 1947 Center in January 2017.  The Land Use Planning Division, Office of Energy and Sustainability, Toxics Management Division, and the Office of the Planning Dept. Director will each make the transition to new offices in 1947 Center St. without any closure of services to the public.

The new Permit Service Center was designed with modern building permit and plan technology in mind. Larger monitors on rotating arms will allow customers to view plans and revisions alongside staff. Improved signage and queuing will reduce confusion and more quickly direct customers to appropriate staff. The more expansive Permit Service Center counter will increase the number of staffed stations from 8 to 12, reducing wait times.

Sharing office space with the City's Public Works, Fire and Finance departments will enhance collaboration among City staff, making the resolution of cross-departmental reviews significantly easier.  Clients who need to work with multiple City departments should find it easier to reach the staff they need without the need to walk between different City offices.


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