Table of Contents

Sec. 32-725. Office of the Business Advocate.

Sec. 32-726. Office of the permit ombudsman.

Secs. 32-727 to 32-729. Reserved

Sec. 32-725. Office of the Business Advocate. Section 32-725 is repealed, effective January 1, 2009.

(P.A. 06-83, S. 8; Nov. 24 Sp. Sess. P.A. 08-1, S. 17.)

Sec. 32-726. Office of the permit ombudsman. (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

(4) “Permit ombudsman” means the office of the permit ombudsman established within the Department of Economic and Community Development under this section.

(b) (1) The commissioner shall establish an office of the permit ombudsman 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, (C) be located in a brownfield, as defined in section 32-760, (D) be compatible with the state's responsible growth initiatives, (E) be considered transit-oriented development, as defined in section 13b-79kk, (F) develop green technology business, (G) develop bioscience business, or (H) meet the criteria set forth in subdivision (2) of this subsection. Projects ineligible for review under this section are projects for which the primary purpose 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. For purposes of this section, “responsible growth initiatives” includes the principles of smart growth, as defined in section 1 of public act 09-230*, and “green technology business” means an eligible business with not less than twenty-five per cent of its employment positions being positions in which green technology is employed or developed and may include the occupation codes identified as green jobs by the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Labor Department for such purposes. The permit ombudsman shall also assist and provide guidance to bioscience businesses seeking to expedite the review and approval of permits required by local zoning authorities.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the commissioner may, upon consideration of the economic impact factors of the project that include, but are not limited to: (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 state and local economy, (C) the amount of capital investment, and (D) in the judgment of the commissioner, after consultation with the Departments of Energy and Environmental Protection, Transportation and Public Health that there is consistency with the strategic economic development priorities of the state and the municipality, deem projects eligible for expedited permitting pursuant to this section.

(c) The Departments of Energy and Environmental Protection, Transportation and Public Health shall each designate through existing and available resources one or more staff members to act as a business ombudsmen and a liaison between their offices and the permit ombudsmen. The Commissioners of Economic and Community Development, Energy and Environmental Protection, Transportation and Public Health shall enter into a memorandum of understanding concerning each entity's responsibilities with respect to the permit ombudsmen and the process for expediting eligible permit applications, which shall include appropriate opportunities for public participation.

(d) 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. Notwithstanding any other provision of the general statutes, to the extent feasible, the memorandum of understanding shall provide for proceedings and hearings otherwise held separately by the parties 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. In no event shall the memorandum of understanding waive requirements of environmental statutes or regulations.

(e) The permit ombudsman may solicit assistance of volunteers from the private sector, including a state-wide business association, the Office of Responsible Growth and from an association representing small businesses. Said volunteers may assist the permit ombudsman in developing the guidelines established pursuant to subsection (f) of this section.

(f) The permit ombudsman, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, shall establish, pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, guidelines to be used in working with state permitting authorities to implement the provisions of this section. Guidelines shall include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) An agency 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; (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 agencies to reduce the necessity that an applicant provide duplicate information to multiple agencies; and (5) an application fee structure for permit expedition.

(g) The permit ombudsman, at the request of the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, may request the assistance of any other department, board, commission or other agency of the state to assist in providing information and assistance as said permit ombudsman determines necessary to expedite its duties and responsibilities. Each officer or employee of such office, department, board, commission or other agency of the state shall make reasonable efforts to cooperate with the permit ombudsman.

(h) 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.

(P.A. 10-158, S. 3; P.A. 11-80, S. 1; P.A. 13-308, S. 24; P.A. 16-201, S. 1.)

*Note: Section 1 of public act 09-230 is special in nature and therefore has not been codified but remains in full force and effect according to its terms.

History: Pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” and “Department of Environmental Protection” were changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” and “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, respectively, effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 13-308 amended Subsec. (b)(1) by replacing reference to Sec. 32-9cc with reference to Sec. 32-760, effective July 1, 2013; P.A. 16-201 amended Subsec. (b)(1) by adding new Subpara. (G) re bioscience business, redesignating existing Subpara. (G) as Subpara. (H) and adding provision re permit ombudsman to assist and provide guidance to bioscience businesses.

Secs. 32-727 to 32-729. Reserved for future use.