How long should it take to get a permit? Less than 100 days, the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald thinks — but that's how long the paper says it took some applicants this year ("Portland stuck in its own permitting quagmire," by Randy Billings).

"According to city data, the average wait for commercial permits ranges from 43 to 70 days. It took about 70 days, on average, to get a permit to add onto a business and an average of 55 days to amend a commercial building permit," the paper reports. Residential permits are a little quicker, the report says: Permits to alter a home took an average of 29 days to process, while permits to build additions took 67 days on average.