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Media Mentions

Coalition supports bill to speed building approvals

May 24, 2022

Long Island Business News

David Winzelberg

The region’s development and business communities are once again advocating for legislation that would establish a self-certification program for building permit applications with local governments.

The legislation, sponsored by State Sen. James Gaughran and Assemblyman Steve Stern, aims to speed up the approvals process by requiring municipalities 45 days to approve or deny a building permit application before the applicant could opt to self-certify plans by licensed architects or engineers. The proposed legislation also requires municipalities to provide specific reasons why an application is declined.

The coalition lobbying for the bill is comprised of the Association for a Better Long Island, Long Island Association, Long Island Builders Institute, New York Solar Energy Industries Association and Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island. In addition, several Long Island municipalities also support the establishment of self-certification programs. The bi-partisan Suffolk County Supervisors Association, as well as the Town of Hempstead, have written letters advocating for the legislation.

Self certification, also known as professional certification, allows qualified licensed architects and engineers to approve several steps in the permitting process for construction projects—things like architectural plans, wastewater flow and landscape design—instead of waiting for municipal reviewers to get around to it.

The program would reduce the backlog of applications the Long Island development community is facing where, as a result of COVID-19, some building departments have months-long backlogs. The self-certification program has already existed in New York City for 25 years and has made the city’s approvals process more streamlined.

This isn’t the first time self-certification legislation has been floated. However, the current bill has been amended to give municipalities a 45-day window to complete their building permit reviews before self-certification can takeover.

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