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Tips to Avoid Delays

 

Before you draw any plans, dig any holes, or build any structures, plan ahead to ensure that your efforts to get required permits, licenses, etc., will go as smoothly as possible. Follow our tips to avoid costly, time-consuming delays and get it right the first time.
  • Start planning early.   Some permits can take up to a year to receive.
    • Complete our Project Questionnaire as soon as you begin to think about a project. It can help identify which permits, approvals, licenses, certifications and/or registrations you may need.
    • Become familiar with permit timelines. This will help you better plan for when you can realistically start construction.
    • Consult with DHEC and any other permit agencies involved early in the planning stage to avoid costly, time-consuming mistakes.
  • Learn about concerns of your local community.   You may wish to talk to community members to hear their concerns and views of your proposed business.  Some common community concerns are increased traffic, odors, noise, late night activities or chemical hazards that may be associated with your business.  Amending your business plan and permit application to address these concerns can go a long way towards good community relations and may prevent an appeal of a permit decision. 
  • Avoid impacts to sensitive areas.  Today’s laws require businesses to compensate for negative impacts to the environment through a process called mitigation.
    • By avoiding or minimizing impacts you may reduce the number of permits required.
    • If your project must impact a sensitive area, plan ahead for mitigation. An environmental consultant can help you determine what areas require mitigation and how much is needed.
  • Schedule a pre-application meeting.  Once you have a plan and have compiled planning lists, request a pre-application meeting with DHEC staff.  A lot of time and effort can be saved by discussing our mutual needs before you fill out any forms.  Pre-application meetings give you an opportunity to:
    • Explain your project and get feedback from DHEC permitting staff before you submit your application.
    • Understand permitting requirements and avoid mistakes.
  • Take an active role, be responsive and remain flexible.  Ask for courtesy reviews of drafts, if staff has time to provide this service, and request that you be notified early of any issues of concern. Familiarize yourself with the regulations that pertain to your business, and periodically check the status of your application.
    • Promptly respond to agency information requests to keep the process moving.
    • If DHEC (or another agency) asks you to consider making changes to the project to reduce the environmental impact, be open-minded. The requested changes may reduce the need for complicated (and typically, expensive) mitigation.
  • File complete applications.  Before submitting your application, check to be sure it has all the required documents attached. DHEC can’t start a review of your application until it is complete.
    • Be sure that the documents agree with each other in their project descriptions. For example, list the same project size and the same location of project elements on each document.
    • Consider hiring an environmental consultant to help you. While it may seem expensive to hire a good consultant to prepare reports and permit applications, it can save you time and money in the long run.
    • Last but not least, make sure to sign your application! We will return unsigned applications to you.

  • Select the appropriate site.  For example, choose sites that are:
    • Zoned correctly for the project.
    • Vested with enough water rights to provide for full build out.
    • Supported by utilities, transportation infrastructure, and emergency services.

  • Know your site.  Sites that are culturally, historically, or archeologically important, or have sensitive habitat areas, often have legal protections.

  • Learn about planning priorities.   Become familiar with local land use priorities (trails, public access, and green space, for example). Incorporating some of these elements into your design will help your town or city achieve its planning goals and may boost community support for your project.