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Business license application process streamlined

The business license application process in Las Vegas has been consolidated into one building and streamlined from 30 days down to a little more than a week, said a city official at the new Development Services Center at 333 N. Rancho Drive.

Instead of shuttling from one place to another to get plans reviewed, it’s now a one-stop shop at the eight-story office building formerly known as the University of Phoenix building.

“It has been just as beneficial for us by bringing us under one roof,” said Flinn Fagg, director of the Development Services Center. “Part of it is streamlining of the review process, and again, having people here in the building who can answer questions about building safety or fire or public works.”

Before, business license applicants went to the third floor of City Hall to get signed off for zoning, then they would get in their cars and drive a few blocks down Las Vegas Boulevard to the planning department, then back to the sixth floor of City Hall to pay the fee.

“So they would bounce back and forth. Here, licensing is part of the planning process,” Fagg said. “You get the zoning signed off, go to the licensing division on the sixth floor, pay your fee, you’re done. One location. You pull one ticket and it routes you through the whole process.”

The city’s business licensing division moved into the building in November, the last of several departments serving the business development community. Also at the Rancho building are the planning department; building and safety; land development; city engineer; fire prevention; public works; and operations and maintenance.

More than 230 city employees work at the Development Services Center, including about 60 in planning and licensing.

Development Services has made additional improvements since moving to the new building in July that have further shortened application times, Fagg said. Customers can apply for a business license online, pay their $50 application fee online and renew their current business license online.

Pat Lomax of Ford Contractors has made a couple of trips to the new Development Services Center with his computer-assisted design plans.

“So far, it’s gone smooth,” he said just as his number was called at the ticket counter. “Most everything we do is with the county.”

The city began looking at development services a few years ago and hired a consultant to review ways to improve processes. Consolidating the departments in one location saves $1.2 million a year in rent.

In the planning department, 90 percent of front-counter customers are served within 10 minutes. Items such as minor additions or modifications to commercial properties are handled administratively instead of having to go through the City Council.

For building and safety, first-review times have been reduced from 20 days to 10 days. Wait times for over-the-counter plan reviews have also decreased. These counter reviews allow small projects to be submitted, reviewed and permitted in the same day.

In fire prevention, 38 percent of fire plan reviews are now a result of shortened permit procedures.

“Again, integrating departments allows us to do that,” Fagg said. “As we implement technology, we’ll be even quicker.”

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at hsmith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0491.

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