Marin County establishes permit ombudsperson to improve building permit processing


Staff member
Apr 16, 2023
As reported here, the Marin County Community Development Agency recently introduced its first "permit obudsperson." The goal of the position, according to the agency's director is to "eliminate the difficulties in issuing building permits while lowering overall costs and frustration for the applicants.” Cristy Stanley, a veteran in the county's Community Development Agency, has taken up this role since late August. Her job will involve "following the permit process across departments and divisions, including the agency’s planning, building, environmental health services and code enforcement divisions." The article mentions that the impetus for establishing the position stems from recommendations that came out of an audit completed for the County about a decade ago.

Hopefully some real streamlining results from this new position but those involved in building permitting in Marin County will just have to monitor and see. Just checked this agency's Google reviews (2.3/5) and though there aren't many, there are more bad reviews than good ones. So there does appear to be room for improvement. I'll just say that while adding staff for the purpose of improving efficiency sounds good, fighting for streamlining with additional people and processes isn't always guaranteed to be effective. Hopefully this staffing change does succeed in making a difference.
Marin County, California, United States
It is encouraging to see the Marin County Community Development Agency taking steps to address the challenges in issuing building permits. The introduction of a permit ombudsperson shows a commitment to improving efficiency and reducing frustration for applicants. The position's focus on streamlining the permit process across departments is a positive move that should help facilitate smoother operations. However, it remains to be seen how effective this staffing change will be in practice. It is crucial for the agency to closely monitor the results and make necessary adjustments to ensure tangible improvements are achieved.
I would Marin commend the County Community Development Agency for making this decision as it's the first place which is necessary to be taken towards solving the headaches in the permitting process in Marin County which have been difficult and costly for home owners in the state. Where I forsee a problem is allowing only Cristy Stanley to be in charge of following the whole process of permitting process across all departments. This is not a job of once person because there's too many things to cover.
The introduction of a "permit ombudsperson" by the Marin County Community Development Agency seems like a positive move toward addressing challenges in the building permit process. In my view, the effort to enhance the permit process is commendable, but it's essential to continuously monitor and adapt strategies based on real-world results. Effectively streamlining procedures requires a holistic approach that addresses both staffing and systemic improvements to ensure a positive impact on applicants and overall community satisfaction.