Prince William County Department of Development Services announced it ranked sixth in a nationwide Development Approvals Index study produced by NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. The county ranked sixth place with an overall weighted score of 51 and attained a leading score of 75 points for consistency.

"This new third-party benchmark study demonstrates Prince William County is a leading provider of building development services,” said Wade A. Hugh, director of Department of Development Services. “For more than 25 years, the Building Development Division has advanced its best talent in expertise and training, and resources available technology in Building Safety and customer services."

The Development Approvals Index study is a new tool to evaluate local approval processes, produced by NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. NAIOP’s Research Foundation commissioned the study of thirty local jurisdictions to compare development approval processes, with specific focus on building plan reviews, permitting and inspections, with input from local NAIOP chapter executives, according to NAIOP.

"Sincere congratulations to the entire Department of Development Services team on this accomplishment," said Christina Winn, executive director of Prince William County Department of Economic Development. "We know their caliber of service and we are thrilled to see their recognition on a national level."

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The index’s ranking was determined by overall scores of a metric points system in three pillars: transparency, accountability and consistency.

Transparency metrics were determined on Development Fee Information, with points for the availability of a project fee estimator, an online calculator, and an online fee schedule that currently and accurately reflect costs. In addition, points were given to the review process, coordination at both state and local level, time of reviews, online electronic submission services, such as ePortal, online permit tracking, and if inspections can be scheduled online.

Accountability metrics included if recourse is available to Developers, the appeals process, expedited review, adequate staffing, third-party inspections, and if performance data is published on the website, such as quarterly performance data, presented to the Prince William County Commercial Development Committee.

Consistency metrics covered code and ordinance updates, time frames for completed reviews, approval processes, feedback across different organizational levels and functions, including published approvals for project phases, and staff-based results, such as tenure, training, and their ability to handle complex projects.

Findings from the Development Approvals Index were published in April 2022, with an initial round of data collected from August 2021 to March 2022.

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