Delaware Public Media

Permit process for new business much longer in Delaware than other states, says report

Dec 16, 2019

A new report says it can take up to four times as long for a new business to get its start in Delaware than it does in neighboring states.

A list of Delaware business entities, under the name Ready in 6 Coalition, recently commissioned a report from the accounting firm KPMG.

Through interviews with businesses and government agencies, it found a new business in Delaware usually waits between 18-24 months to go through the required permit process while in states like Pennsylvania and Maryland the process can take as little as six months.

Bob Perkins is executive director of the Delaware Business Roundtable—one of the Ready in 6 groups commissioning the report. He says the longer wait is reducing interest for companies to do business in Delaware.

“There are [sic] prospective businesses that come to those working at the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and then say, ‘look we need to build a building, we want to get this done in six or eight months. We want to get the permits approved so we can move. Can you do that?’ And if we can’t—and many of them know we can’t—they go ahead and move to another state,” said Perkins.   

The KPMG report makes a list of recommendations including hiring a project concierge and assembling a permit action committee to streamline communication between state agencies. It also suggests more data collection on permit process timelines among the state and its counties.

DelDOT spokesman C.R McLeod says his agency is working to streamline its role in the process. 

“While we know there’s more to do, we feel like even this year we’ve taken a few steps to address some of those shortcomings and make sure we’re not hampering any business developments here in the state,” said McLeod.     

McCleod says DelDOT has reduced the time it takes to perform a traffic impact study from 44 days to 31 days this year. He also points to completed, under construction and planned multi-million-dollar Traffic Improvement Districts (TID) in Delaware meant to spur economic growth. There are four in the state at various stages of completion. The report recommends prioritizing these TIDs.

In a statement, Gov. John Carney says he takes the permitting issue seriously, but adds “there is a balance we need to strike to protect Delaware consumers, while strengthening our economy.”