Norfolk City Council approves new planning and developing department

NORFOLK –  The Norfolk Fire Division’s Prevention Bureau will be replaced by a new planning and development department.

All of the current prevention bureau staff members will be retained and the department will be led by city planner Valerie Grimes.

“Many other cities our size or larger have the planning, building and zoning (departments) in one (building,)” Grimes said, “because they flow from one to the other. You start with the planing and the zoning to make sure the use is permitted, and then you flow to the building permits and departments and the safety to get it built correctly.”

Norfolk city administrator Andy Colvin said the changes were made to make work more cohesive and efficient for city workers, citizens and businesses.

“A big component of this is to really make things more streamlined and more efficient,” Colvin said. “Not only for city staff, but also for businesses and contractors in town. It’s really just going to be a one-stop shop.

With the planning department being officially approved by the city council on Monday night, the next step is making sure the transition is a smooth one.

The prevention bureau staff will move out of the fire division’s headquarters on Seventh Street and Koenigstein Avenue, and into the city administration building on nearby Fifth Street sometime after the fall, but there’s no set deadline.

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