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Posted on: April 1, 2021

MONROE COUNTY BUILDING DEPARTMENT TO OPEN FOR IN-PERSON SERVICES ON APRIL 12

Special Permitting Workshop at the BOCC. Many people in attendance, socially distanced with masks.

The Monroe County permitting offices will be replacing the permit drop-off/pick-up and mail-in system with in-person permitting services, starting on Monday, April 12. The reopening plan of in-person intake and issuance will try to minimize delivery delays. COVID-19 precautions will be in place at all four permitting offices. Three offices have insufficient space and will be open with limits to maintain the Center for Disease Control (CDC) distancing guidelines. All customers must wear facial coverings in all offices. There are no restrictions on the number of permit applications a person can submit.

Due to space limitations, meetings with plans examiners, inspectors, planners, and biologists will continue via phone, email, and Zoom. Please plan appropriately. Pre-COVID-19, staff tried to assist all customers who arrived before 3 p.m., but now all customers who arrive before or at 3 p.m. may not be served.

Resulting from COVID-19, there may also be a backlog of dropped-off permit applications when we make this transition. Staff is working to eliminate the backlog. Date and time order may be disrupted until all backlogged drop-off applications are processed.

“We are working very hard to alleviate the backlog, but the construction industry is very busy,” said Administrative Director of Permitting Ed Koconis. “As conditions change, we will continue to make changes to improve services proactively.”

Key Largo: Two Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) at front counter 6 feet apart with the ability to do intake and issuance. There will be one line for customers with 6 feet of distance between customers. Those waiting can likely be accommodated indoors.

Key Largo is the only office where sufficient space will allow for a separate area outside of the permitting line to submit applications for Planning & Environmental Resources, including but not limited to variances, conditional uses, and ROGO applications. Submittal of these Planning & Environmental Resources applications will occur at a marked location in the lobby near the CSRs. Planning & Environmental Resources applications will then be sent to Marathon for processing.

Marathon: Two CSRs at front counter 6 feet apart with the ability to do intake and issuance. Due to space limitations, there will be a sign indicating only two people at one time inside the permit lobby. There will be one line for customers with 6 feet of distance between customers. Waiting will likely occur indoors and outdoors. Planning & Environmental Resources applications will be accepted and processed upstairs in the Planning & Environmental Resources Department. 

Ocean Reef: While in the temporary trailer, drop-off will continue. When the new building opens, one CSR at the front counter with customers 6 feet apart. Waiting will occur outside. Planning & Environmental Resources applications will be submitted in the same manner then sent to Marathon for processing.

Stock Island: One CSR at the front counter with customers 6 feet apart. Waiting will occur outside the office in an indoor hallway. Planning & Environmental Resources applications will be submitted in the same manner then sent to Marathon for processing.

Moving toward more efficiency, County staff will be seeking Board of County Commissioner approval to replace the outdated permitting software system with an online system for permitting, plans review, and inspections. The new system will allow staff to review the applications and plans simultaneously throughout the four permitting offices, lessening the 35-day-minimum plan review process. The earliest the system will go live is tentatively April 2022.

Pictured: On Wednesday, the Board of County Commissioners held a special workshop to discuss building department improvements. Commissioner Craig Cates proposed forming a committee or working group with the construction industry. The presentation from the meeting can be found at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/building.

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