Easy does it
Lake County, Ill., has changed the way it processes permits by creating a centrally located “one-stop-shop” facility for building permits. The Planning, Building and Development Department; Stormwater Management Commission; Health Department’s Environmental Health Services; and combined laboratory operations for Public Works and the Health Department are located in the new facility, which opened in April.
Previously, customers had to travel to each department to obtain permit approvals. With the new facility, each customer is assigned a project manager, who is responsible for getting the project to a decision and to completion. “The streamlined project approval process will make it easier for residents who are doing home projects, while new business construction and expansion can move more efficiently from planning to completion,” says Suzi Schmidt, chair of the Lake County Board.
Lake County contracted with Minneapolis-based Mortenson to provide construction management services for the 64,000-square-foot project and manage the architect selection process. The facility, which includes several “green” building elements, was designed by Los Angeles-based AECOM.
The building includes an 8,000-square-foot green roof garden that absorbs precipitation and helps regulate temperature inside the building. The campus incorporates other green features that the county encourages developers to use in their projects: bioswales, retention ponds, low maintenance native seeding, and rain gardens to limit stormwater runoff. The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission and Health Department secured grants to help offset costs of the green features.
By consolidating offices, the county also is saving money on rent for the Stormwater Commission and two Health Department offices. Additionally, two floors of the Lake County Administration Building in downtown Waukegan, Ill., will be available for the State’s Attorneys Office, which currently uses rented space.
Project: Combined “one-stop” permit facility
Jurisdiction: Lake County, Ill.
Agencies involved: County Planning, Building and Development Department; Stormwater Management Commission; Health Department; Public Works Department
Vendors: Construction management: Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction
Vendors: Architect: Los Angeles-based AECOM
Date completed: April 2010
Cost: $19 million