Loxahatchee Groves Building Operations Move In-House

All building operations in the Town of Loxahatchee Groves, including permitting, plan review and inspections, have moved in-house as of Monday, Jan. 3 and will be managed from Loxahatchee Groves Town Hall.

The town recently took over those operations from Palm Beach County. Existing permits and plan review packages approved by the town and submitted to the county will remain with Palm Beach County.

“There are three ways to interact with building services,” Town Manager Jamie Titcomb told the Town-Crier. “Completely online — all our forms, procedures, what you need to know and checklist guides are mounted on our web site — or you can come into town hall and get traditional paper forms and interact with building, permitting and code staff in person. We also have a computer terminal for public use in our front lobby.”

He said the town is still working on the digital payment portals on the web site.

“Right now, you still have to bring money to town hall or call to arrange credit card payment over the phone, but we’re working so that people can pay their permit and other related fees online,” Titcomb said.

He added that anyone applying for permits for new construction that may involve impact fees to Palm Beach County will still need to submit to the county for that process.

“We won’t issue or process a final permit without those required fees having a receipt from the county,” Titcomb said. “That’s a statutory requirement.”

He added that flood plain development assessments or applications, as well as any kind of clearing activity such as tree removal or anything that changes the topography of the land, requires permits regardless of the status of the property, including agricultural exemptions.

“We are very pleased to onboard full-service building, permitting and code services in town hall for the Town of Loxahatchee Groves,” Titcomb said. “One of the advantages of this is that we will no longer be parsing out different parts and pieces of the inspection and building process to other agencies. We can make the permitting process more timely and efficient, and keep costs down in the execution of the permitting process for applicants.”

He added that the town encourages pre-construction meetings for major applications.

“In fact, they are required in most cases,” Titcomb said. “We pay our senior staff, our professionals like our building officials, our planner and our engineer, to have a pre-conversation with applicants on what they are trying to do and assist them in streamlining and troubleshooting to make the process shorter, less costly and more efficient.”

He noted that some major projects underway will continue to process under county conditions until they reach a logical point to change.

“Essentially, anything new after Dec. 17 will stay pretty much in-town,” Titcomb said.

Inspections and code enforcement are being handled by the contractor Safebuilt, which was hired by the town in August 2021.

“Hopefully, they will bring best practices and efficiencies and professionalism to the process,” Titcomb said, adding that the new process will enable the building department to pay for itself, rather than having those fees go to the county.

The town is introducing a new online permitting system via GovEasy for submitting building permit applications, plan review and inspection requests, with access to real-time status updates for applications.

New completed packages can be submitted online using the town’s online building permitting portal, and all inspections resulting from permits or plan reviews submitted after Dec. 17 will be managed by the town, with no need to resubmit to Palm Beach County for permitting and inspections.

The new system will enable 24/7 access to an online portal to submit applications via GovEasy and the ability to submit applications from home, office or town hall, request and schedule an inspection online, real-time access to plan review and inspection status, as well as check fees and make payments.

For more information, contact Building Official Tony Giardino at (863) 464-1803 or agiardino@loxahatcheegrovesfl.gov, or Permit Technician Jennifer Lopez at (561) 793-2418 or jlopez@loxahatcheegrovesfl.gov.

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