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Construction workers in 2017

Malibu’s planning department is reputed within town for its slow permitting and building processes—but that might be about to change. 

The California Department of Housing and Community Development announced on Wednesday, Jan. 20, that the Malibu planning department will receive a $65,000 grant, according to a statement from the city. 

The funds will help the city update and accelerate the software it uses to issue building permits, “enab[ing] a faster transition to a digital project submittal and review process,” according to the statement. Multiple people will now be able to review a permit simultaneously and data reporting will improve, the statement said.

The statement also said that the updates were crucial “to prevent disruptions in service during emergencies such as wildfires, pandemics and other natural disasters, which limit applicant access to City Hall and staff access to physical files and in-office resources.” 

The grant will also help the city educate the community about the new ADU ordinance, which regulates buildings such as granny flats or backyard cottages, through “messaging on the website, social media, e-notifications and online webinars.”

The money comes from California’s Local Early Action Planning Grants Program, otherwise known as the LEAP Program. Through the LEAP Program, the state will distribute more than $115 million to local governments with award amounts based on city size.

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