Transforming Site Plan Review

In early 2023, the City of Austin commissioned an independent assessment of the site plan review process. (A site plan is a detailed drawing of proposed improvements and construction on a lot. During the site plan review process, reviewers ensure all site development standards are met.) This assessment resulted in 45 recommended initiatives that will improve overall customer experience and efficiency, and positively impact the development process. This webpage will serve as the hub for any information about this transformation, including descriptions of each initiative, contact information, timelines, and progress. We will also provide updates by email, so make sure to subscribe to our email list.

The initial review process was completed by McKinsey & Company, an internationally recognized consultant firm. They conducted surveys, workshops, and interviews with staff and customers, mapped processes, inventoried technologies, and identified potential points of improvement in interpreting the Land Development Code.



150 Staff Members Interviewed


Staff Members Interviewed

178 Customers Interviewed


Customers Interviewed

1470 Steps Analyzed


Steps Analyzed

41 Initiatives Identified


Initiatives Identified

Initiative Progress Tracker

This chart shows the high-level status of all 45 initiatives within the project.
For more information on each initiative, see the next section on this page.

  • Planning Phase36
  • In Progress9
  • Completed0

Critical Items Icon

Critical Enablers

Initiatives that enable all other Quality of Experience and Speed of the Process initiatives. 

Quality of Experience Icon

Quality of Experience

Initiatives that will enhance the experience of staff and applicants.

Process Speed Improvements Icon

Speed of the Process

Initiatives that help facilitate faster process times. 

Improvement Initiatives

The assessment identified a series of initiatives to improve overall customer experience and reduce the length of the site plan review process. Starting in October 2023, McKinsey & Company will work with City staff over the course of six months to implement the short-term initiatives identified in this study and begin the work on long-term initiatives. (Quick Wins Indicates initiatives McKinsey & Company defined as "Quick wins")

Critical Updates IconCritical Enablers
1Establish gold standard training groundPlanning Phase
2Staff incentives aligned with process goalsPlanning Phase
5Evaluate organization designPlanning Phase
6Quick Wins Align Site Plan reviewers on their primary mission and customerPlanning Phase
7Quick Wins Cadenced inter- and intra-departmental meetings to discuss continuous improvementPlanning Phase
8Enhanced centralized process around KPIs within and across departmentsPlanning Phase
22Determine and map overlapping codes/regulations and metricsPlanning Phase
23Rationalize/refine/consolidate code criteria manual(s) and publicize interpretation(s)In Progress
32Enhance & ensure consistent use of internal system of recordPlanning Phase
45Update interdepartmental coalition agreementPlanning Phase


Service Quality IconQuality of Experience
3Optimize hiring methodologyPlanning Phase
9Rationalize fee schedulePlanning Phase
10Quick Wins Implement customer service best practices (e.g., turn camera/video on, accessibility)Planning Phase
11Consolidated review team for completeness checkPlanning Phase
12Quick Wins Empower the case manager and ensure consistency in case manager assignmentsIn Progress
13Quick Wins Formalize and publish permit signing orderPlanning Phase
16Recalibrate completeness checkIn Progress
17Improve Master Comment Report formatPlanning Phase
18Quick Wins Prioritize application by tiersPlanning Phase
19Quick Wins Formalize "re-review" process if/when department reviewers changePlanning Phase
20Improve internal and external conflict resolution processPlanning Phase
24Formalize approach around LDC additions/changesIn Progress
25Enhance application wizard (questionnaire) that exists as part of the City of Austin websitePlanning Phase
26Application training resourcesPlanning Phase
27Quick Wins Implement applicant attestation of Site Plan completeness and accuracy upon intakePlanning Phase
28Quick Wins Cadenced inter- and intra-departmental meetings to discuss ongoing applicationsPlanning Phase
33Enhance customer-facing portalPlanning Phase
39Automate fee calculation and postingPlanning Phase
42Quick Wins Develop a project webpage that tracks implementationIn Progress
43Quick Wins Develop internal and external communication plansIn Progress
44Create a development process Project TrackerPlanning Phase


Process Speed IconSpeed of the Process
4Quick Wins Contractors/ temps for site plan reviewsIn Progress
14Quick WinsStandardize site plan formal review activitiesIn Progress
15Formalize pre-submission meetingsPlanning Phase
21Formalize post first review cycle meetingsPlanning Phase
29Scheduling (office hours/rotating customer meetings days)Planning Phase
30Provide rolling draft comments to applicantPlanning Phase
31Applicant ability to self-certify (w/potential fee)Planning Phase
34Enhance application wizard (questionnaire) that is linked and a part of the site plan application processPlanning Phase
35Automate required documents at submissionPlanning Phase
36Digitize signature processIn Progress
37Automate/ integrate application entry to system of recordPlanning Phase
38CRM system to auto capture communicationsPlanning Phase
40AI digitized completeness checkPlanning Phase
41AI digitized formal reviewPlanning Phase

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