Building and planning go virtual
The permitting counter was usually a busy place at a local city or county government, with contractors and homeowners stopping in to ask questions or buy permits. Most entities have probably changed their processes to reduce interpersonal contact since the pandemic started.
For some, it might be time to re-evaluate if your temporary solution is working for you and what other options you might have. Here is a current list of resources we have found that could help you.
Options and considerations
It's not just about your options, but also all the considerations that come along with exercising a virtual option. This first resource gives you some of both. It covers online filing options and the use of drop boxes. It provides a host of factors to consider – such as whether you are in compliance with any original documentation requirements. To read more:
- Keeping local permits moving during COVID-19 by the National League of Cities (NLC) and National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors(NATOA). www.natoa.org/documents/Local%20Permitting%20During%20COVID%20NATOA%20NLC2.pdf
Real life case studies
You can find out what others have done in these real life stories that just might inspire you!
- Municipal Research and Services Center has published several blog posts on this topic, the most recent one in June 2020. This blog post walks through four case studies of actual local governments and how they have adapted.
- Hear about what the City of Mount Vernon has done to move from a paperless process to an automated permitting process. Their Development Services Director provides details on all the things they considered in making this transition, as well as valuable advice. This is a free online, recorded webinar: Improving Government Operations Before and After COVID-19
- The City of El Cajon (CA) moved to paperless permitting in just under a month, a project that the city originally expected to take a year. This story from the digital news publication Route Fifty shows how they did it.
An upcoming webinar from MRSC
Learn more about online permitting/plan review systems in this upcoming webinar on August 18. This new class, The Ins and Outs of Online Permitting & Plan Review, is available at a cost of $35.
This webinar is intended for planners, plans examiners, building officials, appointed and elected officials, and other people involved/interested in the local development review process. If you think you might have interested persons in your organization, make sure to share this information with them!
Remember, we are here to help. At the Center for Government Innovation, we have financial management specialists available to help you talk through technical projects. For assistance, reach out to the Center@sao.wa.gov. You can also reach out to us with specific questions through our helpdesk service.