West Bend officials hope to spur development projects
Initiatives to make it easier for contractors to obtain permits

By RALPH CHAPOCO - Daily News Staff

Feb. 20, 2018

West Bend staff established a series of initiatives designed to make it more convenient for contractors to obtain permits from the city — indirectly hoping to promote development projects in the area.

In two news releases published in January, West Bend officials announced that developers can submit their plumbing plans for building inspection crews to review when planning to build commercial property in area, as well as offering individuals the option to submit their proposed building projects digitally.

“About five communities in the state have plumbing plan review authority,” Administrator Jay Shambeau said. “We have had it historically here in West Bend. We lost it when our building superintendent resigned and went to the private sector, then got it back when he hired Todd (Meeks). He is fully licensed to maintain that plumbing plan review.”

Meeks is the superintendent for West Bend, and oversees the permitting process related to building inspections.

According to the news release dated Jan. 29, the city received agent municipality status for plumbing plan review effective Dec. 7. Plans for facilities constructed within West Bend are available for review, which consists of plans for the work, a water calculations sheet, drawings of the system and water distribution piping with sizes.

To receive that authorization, Meeks attended a session with state employees to review the requirements for the review. His additional credential represents an added convenience for those tendering plan documents to the city.

“What that means is that it is a significant time saver for commercial entities that are building in West Bend,” Shambeau said. “If I am building a new Kwik Trip in West Bend, or the new Starbucks is a better example because it just literally happened, because we have a plumbing plan reviewer onsite, we can review those plans in house.”

Meeks estimates it could be a month before contractors receive approval for their plans whereas city officials can review it within a couple of weeks.

Officials also announced they will offer a digital review of constructing plans for permits.

“I brought that to the city when I got here last year,” Meeks said. “They were just having contractors come in and contractors would always have to submit three sets of plans. They would have to bring in all their paperwork when they came in.”

The copy of the plans is kept at city hall while another goes to the fire department. The final copy remains with the contractor.

Staff implemented a software program that allows them to review the plan that contractors had to submit via pdf. Multiple copies can be made to provide to fire personnel and another to be kept in house.

“I decided to go digital because, one they are making multiple trips here,” Meeks said of the contractors. “Now they have to make one trip here and that is after we review it.”