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Inspectional Services Head Expediting Building Permits (Video)

Head of Boston Inspectional Services, William “Buddy” Christopher, spoke recently to the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) to discuss general issues associated with the department.

Mr. Christopher said that ISD has been tasked by Mayor Walsh to:

  • Expedite the permitting process for applicants.
  • Uphold minimum standards for housing.
  • Improve the experience at ISD. Change the culture of “no.”

“Overall, the idea is take the mystery out of the zoning code,” said Christopher labeling it as “ridiculous” at “over 1,200 pages.” His goal is to make it “clear and predictable.”

Applicants to the Zoning Board of Appeals are now generally heard within 60 days, as opposed to a wait of 90-360 days in the past. The Board of Appeals also has a 1-2 family hearing day for minor projects. “As of right” permit requests that do not require any zoning variance are handled within 20 days. In answer to a question, Mr. Christopher said there is no requirement for neighbor notification for those cases. Board of Appeals cases have a 30 day notice requirement, many of which require neighborhood presentations. An online system is in the works to list all zoning hearings.

The ISD head agreed to pursue public legal postings on the door / window where zoning variances are being sought so that people walking by will have the opportunity to see them. This is a longstanding request of NEWRA Zoning, Licensing & Construction Committee Chair, Victor Brogna. NEWRA President Ford Cavallari also offered to help distribute online information from ISD to NEWRA members.

View the full presentation and discussion in the video above.