The City of Roswell’s Community Development Services divisions are set to physically unify once they move into a larger shared site inside the Sunwest Center office complex at 500 N. Main St. .
City officials designate the site as the community development center.
Kevin Maevers, the city’s director of community development, reported at Tuesday’s public safety committee meeting on the progress of renovations to the ground floor of the complex. He said the site could be ready to welcome employees and be introduced to the public with a “soft launch” between mid and late October.
“This will dramatically improve customer service,” Maevers commented.
He also said that better service to the public “was the main reason for this process”.
Discussions have been underway since 2019 to provide the public with a “one stop shop” for people using the five divisions of Community Development Services: Planning and Zoning, Real Estate, Construction and Inspection, Code Enforcement and Business Licensing.
“Concerns about extended permit times, poor customer service and lack of coordination across divisions have been echoed by the local business and development community,” Maevers’ written report said. He read excerpts aloud during the meeting.
Initially, there was no suitable location available to consolidate community development functions until space became available at Sunwest in mid-2021.
A 10-year lease was finalized in June 2021 for 9,830 square feet to Sunwest. The cost to the city will be $147,450 per year, said Todd Verciglio, city property manager.
The landlord is responsible for building tenant improvements and for that, “the city doesn’t spend a dime,” Maevers pointed out.
The space is intended to accommodate up to 25 employees. There are about a dozen and a half people currently working in the community development divisions.
The existing inspection office has only two counters and if someone has to deal with a town planning and zoning problem, he has to go to another building. The space at Sunwest will allow Community Development to provide five service windows — one window for each division.
And two rooms will be available for consultations between staff and the public.
“Due to the building’s age — and the need for significant upgrades to meet current commercial building codes, standards, and City of Roswell requirements — progress has been slow but steady,” according to Maevers.
The 10-story building was completed in 1962.
He also noted that labor shortages from previous contractors and “many supply chain issues” have been resolved.
Toilets have been upgraded, the fire extinguisher system is being upgraded and there is a conference room that can accommodate up to 75 people.
Other remaining stains are “mostly cosmetic”, he said.
A dedication and inauguration ceremony could take place in December.
“We want to make sure everything works,” Maevers pointed out.
The current online system for submitting forms to community development divisions needs to be revised. People could access this system from their own computers or through the center‘s computers.
Handwritten forms can still be submitted at this stage.
The Public Safety Committee took no action on Tuesday because there were not enough members present to constitute a quorum.
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