Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 5208

    February Session, 2010

 

*_____HB05208APP___042010____*

AN ACT CONCERNING EXPEDITED PERMITTING FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2010) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Jobs" means permanent, full-time equivalent positions, not including construction jobs;

(2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development;

(3) "Permit applications" means applications for state permits and licenses, and, at the option of a participating municipality, local development permits;

(4) "Regional planning organization" means a regional council of governments organized under the provisions of sections 4-124i to 4-124p, inclusive, of the general statutes, a regional council of elected officials organized under the provisions of sections 4-124c to 4-124h, inclusive, of the general statutes or a regional planning agency organized under the provisions of chapter 127 of the general statutes; and

(5) "Team" means an expedited action review team established under this section.

(b) (1) The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development shall establish teams for the purpose of expediting review of permit applications for projects that would (A) create at least one hundred jobs, (B) create fifty jobs, if such project is to be located in an enterprise zone designated pursuant to section 32-70 of the general statutes, (C) include not less than one hundred residential units, (D) be located in brownfields, as defined in section 32-9cc of the general statutes, or (E) meet the criteria set forth in subdivision (2) of this subsection. Projects ineligible for review under this section are projects the primary purpose of which is to (i) effect the final disposal of solid waste, biomedical waste or hazardous waste in this state, (ii) produce electrical power, unless the production of electricity is incidental and not the primary function of the project, (iii) extract natural resources, (iv) produce oil, or (v) construct, maintain or operate an oil, petroleum, natural gas or sewage pipeline.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, a municipality, by resolution adopted by the legislative body, may request the commissioner to establish a team for a project that would create a minimum of ten jobs. The commissioner may establish a team upon consideration of the economic impact factors of the project that include, but are not limited to, the following: (A) The proposed wage and skill levels relative to those existing in the area in which the project may be located, (B) the project's potential to diversify and strengthen the area's economy, (C) the amount of capital investment, and (D) the number of jobs that will be made available for persons served by the employment services program established pursuant to section 17b-688c of the general statutes.

(c) Each team shall be established by a memorandum of understanding among (1) the Departments of Economic and Community Development, Environmental Protection and Transportation, (2) appropriate regional planning organizations, and (3) voluntarily participating municipalities and other political subdivisions. The memorandum of understanding may include provisions for participation by federal agencies. The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, in cooperation with municipalities and the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation, shall develop a standard form for each memorandum of understanding.

(d) (1) A participating municipality shall conduct a public workshop to review and explain to the public the expedited permitting process and the terms and conditions of the standard form memorandum of understanding.

(2) The memorandum of understanding shall identify necessary modifications to the participating municipality's procedures and time limits to allow the municipality to approve the project in not more than ninety days after receipt of a completed permit application, provided no memorandum of understanding shall extend any time limits beyond those set forth in section 8-7d of the general statutes. The memorandum of understanding shall state that the expedited permitting and review process does not modify, qualify or otherwise alter existing municipal nonprocedural standards for applications, unless expressly provided.

(e) Each memorandum of understanding shall include a process for final agency action on permit applications not more than ninety days after receipt of a completed permit application, unless the applicant agrees to a longer time period or the commissioner determines that unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances preclude final agency action within such time frame. Permit applications subject to federally delegated or approved permitting programs that would prohibit or be inconsistent with the time frame established in this subsection are exempt from the provisions of this subsection, but shall be processed by the agency operating the federally delegated or approved permitting program as expeditiously as possible.

(f) The memorandum of understanding may provide for the waiver or modification of procedural rules prescribing forms, fees, procedures or time limits for the review or processing of permit applications under the jurisdiction of those agencies that are party to the memorandum of understanding. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a memorandum of understanding, to the extent feasible, shall provide for proceedings and hearings otherwise held separately by the parties to the memorandum of understanding to be combined into one proceeding or held jointly and at one location. Such waivers or modifications shall not be available for permit applications governed by federally delegated or approved permitting programs, the requirements of which would prohibit, or be inconsistent with, such waivers or modifications.

(g) The standard form memorandum of understanding, established pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, shall include guidelines to be used in working with state and municipal permitting authorities. Guidelines may include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) A central contact point for filing permit applications and for obtaining information on permit requirements; (2) identification of the individual or individuals within each respective agency who shall be responsible for processing the expedited permit application or local comprehensive plan amendment for that agency; (3) a mandatory preapplication review process to reduce permitting conflicts by providing guidance to applicants on (A) the permits needed from each agency, (B) specifications for site planning and development, site suitability and limitations and facility design, and (C) steps the applicant can take to ensure expeditious permit application and local comprehensive plan amendment review; (4) a single, coordinated project description form and checklist and an agreement by state and regional agencies to reduce the necessity that an applicant provide duplicate information to multiple agencies; and (5) additional incentives for an applicant who proposes a project that provides a net ecosystem benefit.

(h) The first team meeting to discuss a project shall be held not more than fourteen calendar days after the commissioner's determination that the project is eligible for expedited review. Subsequent interagency meetings may be scheduled to accommodate the needs of participating local governments that are unable to meet public notice requirements for executing a memorandum of understanding as provided in this section, except that such meetings shall not be more than forty-five days after the commissioner determines that the project is eligible for expedited review.

(i) The applicant, the team and participating municipalities may agree to incorporate into a single document the permits, licenses and approvals that are obtained through the expedited permit process.

(j) The expedited permitting process established pursuant to this section shall not modify, qualify or otherwise alter existing agency nonprocedural standards for permit applications, unless expressly authorized by law. If it is determined that the applicant is not eligible to use this process, the applicant may apply for permitting of the project through the normal permitting processes.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2010

New section

CE

Joint Favorable Subst. C/R

PD

PD

Joint Favorable

 

APP

Joint Favorable