Emanuel Aims to Streamline Building Permits

First he cut the city budget, now Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to cut red tape for small business owners looking to build new structures.

The mayor held a press conference Wednesday outline a new, more efficient building permit process for the city.

"For too long I've heard about the building department and its permitting process as the stop sign rather than the green light," Emanuel said, fittingly on the same day his Ravenswood home was being repainted.

In the past, Emanuel said, some families or small businesses could wait up to 4 1/2 months for a building permit before beginning construction. Under his administration, wait times have shrunk to 45 days.

But that's not good enough.

Under the program Emanuel pitched Wednesday, dubbed the "E-Plan," wait times would decrease to 35 days, and applicants would be able to track their permit through an online dashboard."

"The client and others can see if we're hitting our goals," he said. "This is the first department that that's going to adopt the philosophy that I talked about of going into the 21st century; the first department that's going to adopt time in line."

The dashboard is made possible through a grant from the Bloomberg Foundation aimed at helping small business owners around the nation.

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