What It Is
The City of Petaluma’s Development Review Committee (DRC) was formed in 2011 as a way to expedite the permitting process for business without compromising the City’s commitment to safety and smart growth.
The DRC team meets weekly to review pending development applications and discuss fees, requirements and next steps with applicants. The DRC will review plans at any stage--enabling business owners, architects, engineers and other relevant parties to identify and address concerns as early as possible in the development process.
DRC members are manager-level staff representing Planning, Long Range Planning, Fire, Building, Public Works, Building, Engineering, Neighborhood Preservation, Fire Prevention, Police, and Economic Development.
DRC meetings are as much about brainstorming solutions as they are about informing project leads about potential problems. The interactive, team approach helps everyone—DRC members as well as applicants—stay on “the same page” as a project progresses.
How It Works
DRC meetings take place every Thursday morning (with some exceptions) and include DRC members and invited guests (e.g., applicants or other city staff).
At the meeting, applicants have an opportunity to present their project in its current stage. DRC members take turns assessing the project, asking questions of the applicant or each other, and then making a recommendation or requesting follow-up actions by the applicant. Throughout the meeting, the applicants and the DRC members engage in useful dialogue about the project. At the end of the session, DRC members reiterate next steps required of the applicant.
An agenda for each meeting is prepared up to a week in advance based on requests by DRC members and applicants. Projects are given an allotted amount of time (usually between 45 and 60 minutes) on the agenda.
After a meeting date/time has been confirmed, applicants are asked to submit relevant documents to the DRC coordinator no later than the Tuesday of the week before the meeting (minimum 9 days prior) to ensure DRC members have ample time to review the project before the designated meeting. Applicants are invited, but not required, to attend meetings at which their projects are being discussed.
To request an appointment, email [email protected].
Why It Matters
City staff and members of the business/development community cite many positives of the DRC format, including:
An Expedited Permitting Process
Projects move more quickly through the approval process because communication between applicants and city staff happens efficiently.
Mutual respect develops earlier in each project as all the parties involved see each other working diligently and in good faith.
A Stronger City
With a city government that’s effective and efficient, and a business community that’s in tune with the needs of Petaluma’s citizens, Petaluma is able to retain its economic health as well as its charm.
Meeting with the DRC early in your project timeline can help you understand city requirements and avoid common pitfalls of development.
by Brian Oh, Community Development Department Director