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Regional leaders kick off permitting collaboration

Representatives from nine jurisdictions across Northeast Indiana convened October 4 to lay the foundation for establishing regional permitting standards. These nine jurisdictions will collaboratively develop regional permitting standards to help strengthen the region's business climate.

The meetings are being facilitated by the High Performance Government Network (HPGN) on behalf of Vision 2020, a regional initiative spearheaded by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. Regional permitting standards have been identified as one of the top priorities for the region under Vision 2020 as it can improve communication and best practice adoption between jurisdictions and provide customers with a better experience through each jurisdiction's permitting process.

Each jurisdiction participating in the process will receive a Permitting Excellence Certification. Much like development sites that are deemed "shovel ready," this certification will provide notice to potential customers that participating jurisdictions are "development ready." Jurisdictions will be able to promote the designation through their websites, marketing materials and media efforts.

Participating in the permitting standardization process are LaGrange County Zoning Adminstrator Bob Shanahan, Vivian Likes and Retha Hicks from the City of Angola, William Spohn and Ken Dunn of the City of Auburn, David Sewell of the City of Columbia City/Whitley County, Roger Gage of the City of Decatur, Clinton Knauer of DeKalb County, Kim Bowman of the City of Ft. Wayne/Allen County, Mark Mussman of the City of Huntington/Huntington County, and Brian Yoh of the City of New Haven.

"We are looking forward to working with and learning from other jurisdictions about their permitting processes," said Vivian Likes, director of Economic Development and Planning for the City of Angola. "Developing regional permitting standards can help us attract new business ventures to Northeast Indiana." 

At the kickoff meeting, representatives drafted a strategic plan for the group, which includes a vision, mission and values that the group will use moving forward related to three priorities: easy access, transparency and consistency. The plan will be finalized with input from each jurisdiction's elected officials and staff as the group moves forward in the process. At the next meeting, the group will establish specific goals for each of the three priorities.

Throughout the process, participating jurisdictions will discuss best practices, develop process maps, standardize formatting on websites, post FAQs and engage in customer service training.


“Continuous improvement of permitting processes in Northeast Indiana will help us develop a friendlier business climate that is focused on investment in the region,” said Katy Silliman, vice president of regional initiatives at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “Participating jurisdictions will have the opportunity to share information and best practices in an effort to strengthen their own permitting processes.”

The nine jurisdictions will hold a series of meetings over the next year with a goal to finalize regional permitting standards by the fall of 2014. At that time, participating jurisdictions will receive a certification that can be used to promote the improved effectiveness of their permitting processes. 

Remaining jurisdictions in the region will have the opportunity to participate in follow-up rounds of the process to earn their Permitting Excellence Certification.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership creating business investment by generating business leads, developing product and fostering regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. The 10 counties of Northeast Indiana include Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. 

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