Development Review Process Improvement

Zoning Practice — May 2017

By Norman Wright, AICP


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Over the course of decades, the work planners do to review projects and issue approvals has grown in complexity. The negative effect this has on customer experience is becoming more apparent. But inefficient processes not only cause frustration, they also contribute to greater delay and expense in the construction process, and worsen the economic conditions planners seek to remedy.

Every great new policy requires an equally responsive implementation process. A more efficient process for administering zoning ordinances is a relief to frustrated applicants and overburdened planners; it is also a key element of a response to the housing affordability crisis seen in many regions of the country.

This issue of Zoning Practice explains how to increase efficiency and value of development review and approval processes by applying methods developed for improving manufacturing processes.


Page Count
Date Published
May 1, 2017
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Norman Wright, AICP
Norman Wright is the founder and principal at Parameter, a consulting firm dedicated to improving local government. From 2005 to 2022, he served as a local government executive over-seeing planning, development, and many public services in cities and counties in Oregon, Colo-rado, Tennessee, and South Carolina. He holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Clemson University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.