Good news for people who work in Atlanta real estate: new legislation was recently signed by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed that could speed up the process for obtaining building permits.

According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, some of the changes include providing weekend help from city staffers, consolidating city employees who handle permits from Department of Planning and Community Development, and creating separate tracks based on project size. Applicants who register online can obtain permits in 10 business days. Contractors may pay a fee and receive after-hours service. Small residential modifications could be approved within 72 hours.

Quicker approval could lead to more jobs. A 2005 report by Bain & Co. showed that the approval process in Atlanta could take up to 30 or 40 weeks. Compared to other areas like Nashville, the city has developed a reputation as a difficult place for builders and developers.

Other changes in the new legislation revolve around money. The money generated from permit seekers will be placed in an enterprise fund to pay for technology upgrades and staff training for the Department of Planning and Community Development.

Moving forward, many developers in the Atlanta real estate industry remain skeptical. Promises to streamline the permit approval process have been made before with little or no tangible effects. Only time will tell whether this new legislation will finally speed things up and help bring more jobs to Atlanta.

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