Crow Wing County received 97 percent positive reviews for customer service received regarding building permits and 100 percent positive reviews for septic permits, wetland and surveying issues and landowner assistance during the Development Review Team (DRT) process, according to a recent survey released by the Land Services Department.
The survey, conducted annually in January, polled nearly 700 landowners, consultants and contractors who interacted with the Environmental Services Office within the Land Services Department in 2012. Of those surveyed, 97 percent indicated that county staff provided them with complete and accurate information in a timely manner and that staff members were friendly and respectful.
“We want to know if we are meeting the needs and expectations of our customers,” said Land Services Supervisor Chris Pence. “Our goal is to provide excellent service to our customers.”
Many comments noted the changes in the last five years since the Land Services Department was reorganized. One customer stated, “In the past I have seen some glaring inconsistencies, with the issuing of permits. A lot of what I have witnessed seems to be at the whim of the person issuing the permit. However, this was not the case, in my most recent application. It was done in a professional and objective manner.”
Another commented that “staff were amazing to work with. Being a contractor in another state I have dealt with many different municipalities, I can honestly say these guys were great. They were open, understanding and very upfront.”
Comments suggesting areas of improvement were also received and suggested changes to the website, ways to improve communication and education, and ideas to allow an E911 address to be issued for vacant property. Crow Wing County plans to continue to make improvements to the website and communication, including the launch of a new online permitting system this spring.
In addition, because of public feedback, the Land Use Ordinance was recently changed to allow E911 signs to be placed on vacant property.
The county’s Development Review Team (DRT) continues to be a success, as 100 percent of those who responded indicated DRT was helpful or very helpful.
The DRT process brings together zoning applicants, township officials and relevant government agencies along with county staff in a pre-application meeting to discuss proposed land use map amendments, variance, conditional use and plat applications prior to actually submitting such applications.
One respondent noted that the public hearing process “works extremely well. I’m happy to see how the process has evolved from literally no help about 3-4 years ago to the complete opposite now.”
This was the second year the survey included questions related to land surveying, wetlands and septic systems. All respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of customer service and technical expertise offered by county staff in these areas and noted significant improvement in these areas.