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North Hempstead Draws on Conference Feedback to Further Streamline Buildings Department

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North Hempstead Draws on Conference Feedback to Further Streamline Buildings Department
North Hempstead, NY– Capping a series of in-depth brainstorming sessions geared to make North Hempstead’s Buildings Department more efficient, the recent day-long conference hosted by the Town attracted more participants than expected while laying the foundation for what is poised to become a model agency, Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the North Hempstead Town Board announced.

More than 300 guests, including architects, builders and developers, real estate professionals, elected officials and building department heads from neighboring municipalities, attended the April 30th forum at the Clubhouse at Harbor Links in Port Washington. An additional 300 viewed the conference via live webcast as well.

The groundbreaking summit peaked with an announcement by Supervisor Kaiman that the Town is mulling the idea of declaring a temporary, penalty-free reconciliation period for residents to bring their homes up to code.

“We are here to have a discussion and figure out how we can refine our Buildings Department while at the same time fulfilling our obligation to follow the buildings and zoning codes and more importantly, protect our residents,” Supervisor Kaiman said in his opening remarks.

The conference, which brought industry professionals together with Town officials to review current policies and procedures and to assess improvements already made, featured six panel discussions. The panelists included presenters from the Town as well as from a host of industry professionals including real estate attorneys, architects, contractors and developers.

The panels were moderated by Supervisor Kaiman, Buildings Department Commissioner Kevin Cronin, Town Attorney Richard Finkel and BZA counsel Gerard Terry as well as Rich Bivone of the Long Island Business Council. The topics explored included proposed code changes, the Buildings Department process, plans review, building in suburbia, the Board of Zoning & Appeals and an enforcement and compliance overview.

A presentation on the Town’s performance management system TownStat, was followed by a question and answer session which concluded the conference.

This unprecedented conference was the culmination of 4 years of restructuring the Buildings Department policies and procedures while soliciting feedback for its continuing development.

Leading up to the forum, the Town hosted a series of brainstorming sessions designed to get feedback from inside and outside the Buildings Department on how best to improve service while adhering to critical life, safety and zoning standards.

“It was unique because seldom if ever do you see elected officials join with the public, the business sector and department heads from villages and towns to discuss issues affecting Long Island’s building industry and building and zoning codes,” said Michael Sahn of Sahn Ward Coschignano & Baker. “The opportunity to dialogue and share viewpoints is a win win for the industry and the Town.”

Mitch Pally of the Long Island Builders Institute said of the conference, “it was an absolute home run. We will continue to participate in the process of helping to streamline North Hempstead’s Buildings Department.”

Video of the panel discussions will be made available at NorthHempsteadNY.Gov/BuildingsDepartment. For more information please call 311. If calling from outside the Town, dial (516) 869 6311.

Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Buildings Department Commissioner Kevin Cronin and Ed Sullivan of Marilyn Street Consulting welcome guests to conference.

Over 300 guests attended the Buildings Department Conference at the Clubhouse at Harbor Links with an additional 300 watching live on Webcast

The 311 Call Center set-up a remote location to enter in Service Requests made by residents at the conference

Planning Commissioner Michael Levine offered his insight during the Zoning Board portion of the event

A majority of Town Board members were present throughout the entire discussion to gather suggestions and input made by residents and industry professionals

Community members showed up at the all-day conference to offer their input

Real estate professionals engaged in a dialogue during the Question & Answer segment of the conference

Buildings Department Commissioner Kevin Cronin moderated the Code Changes panel.
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