When you order something online, you can immediately begin tracking the package and continue to track it until it arrives at your doorstep. Imagine if the same process was possible with all state permit applications. That is what House Bill No. 1959 (the “Bill”) intends to do. The Bill, also known as the Permit Administration Act, would implement a tracking system for state permit applications. It would create an accessible tracking system for state permit applications that would allow applicants to see the status of their applications during each step of the process. The main goal of the Bill is to make the permit application process more transparent and to provide for more timely action on state permit applications.
Regarding the tracking system, the Bill would require a state agency (e.g. PADEP, PADOT, etc.) to notify an applicant of the receipt of the application. The state agency would have to provide the identity and contact information for the agency employee assigned to answer questions about the application process. The tracking system would provide applicants with the dates associated with each step of the application process, from receipt to the final decision.
The Bill also would require state agencies to perform a completeness review and a technical review of each permit application within a certain period of time. The Bill would require state agencies to notify an applicant of any incompleteness or technical deficiency in the application. The state agency would have to provide the applicant with the specific statute or regulation which requires a correction and the reasons why the application does not conform with that statute or regulation. The Bill also would require state agencies to contract with a third party to review permit decision delays and to resolve issues causing delay.
The Bill was introduced in January 2018 and currently is in front of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee. Critics of the Bill claim it will place too much stress on understaffed state agencies. They claim also the state agencies will not be adequately compensated for their increased workload. Supporters of the Bill claim it will make the permitting process more transparent, boost economic growth, and promote job creation. Stay tuned to the McNees Land Use Blog for updates on the Bill.
Please feel free to contact any member of the McNees Wallace & Nurick Land Use Group for assistance with any land use or development issues and/or if you have any questions regarding this post.