New permit process cuts time and costs for Columbia developers

Thursday, September 26, 2013 | 8:00 p.m. CDT
The Gerald T. and Bonnie M. Brouder Science Center in Columbia College, pictured here on Saturday, is part of Missouri's award-winning ePermit program. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was chosen for the State's Innovation Award for the program.

JEFFERSON CITY — Developers have gained quicker turnarounds and lower costs on construction projects thanks to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' new ePermitting program.

The Environmental Council of the States recognized the program last week as one of three State Program Innovation Award winners

The department implemented the new permit process last year. Designed to streamline permitting and make construction projects more efficient, the switch to paperless permits has, in some cases, shortened the wait time from weeks to days. 

This year, the ePermit has been used for Columbia projects including The Domain, The Den, the Columbia Mall and Columbia College's new science center.

Matt Kriete, assistant vice president of engineering for Engineering Survey and Services, was involved in the permit process for Columbia College's Brouder Science Center last year. Kriete said the online process saved time that would have normally been spent driving between Macon, where the regional permitting office is located, and Columbia.

"We have found that the e-permit process is very user-friendly," Kriete said in an email. "The permits are generated upon electronic completion of the application and fee processing, which means we receive the permit almost instantaneously."

The land disturbance permit allows stormwater and non-stormwater discharge from construction sites. Land disturbance permits are required for any project occupying more than one acre of land and are the department's most commonly requested permit.

The new system aims to bring efficiencies to construction projects and the department, allowing projects to begin earlier, saving staff time and enabling them to focus on other important environmental issues. 

The ePermitting program is "making things more efficient, more effective, more accurate," DNR spokeswoman Gena Terlizzi said.

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