By Brendan O'Connor: The City of Orlando is taking the first steps in bringing their permitting process into the 20th century. They will be launching a Digital City Hall to streamline permit applications and processes, possibly by the end of the year.
Rather than having to head to City Hall in person every time a new business owner has a question, permit applicants will simply plug in their information and then (hopefully) receive an immediate comprehensive response, laying out what steps they will need to take in order to move forward with their project. Users will receive a fee estimate based on the information they have inputted into the system along with a breakdown of each code that applies to them and the estimated time it will take to receive the correct permit.
The Digital City Hall will not be ready to take online plan/blue print submissions until the second phase, which will follow months if not years after the upcoming launch of phase one. Applicants will be sent a form, detailing their project to print out and bring in and submit to City Hall with their separate plans.
An added benefit of the program is that it will track all communication between the City and the applicant so when a City employee looks at a case they aren’t familiar with, they will be able to see the entire back and forth history in front of them, including employee reviews and emails. Maps of all current and open permit applications will be available to the public.
The City is about to begin the process of beta testing the project, but Digital City Hall is not open to the public and won’t be until likely much later in the year. Once launched, the City will be seeking out and educating individual property owners and commercial brokers so they will be able to help their tenants open their new businesses that much faster.