The city of Spokane Valley is implementing high-tech features in its permitting system that soon will enable builders and contractors to apply for and track certain building permits online, says Doug Powell, the city's building official.
Spokane Valley is working with software vendor Paladin Data Systems Corp., of Poulsbo, Wash. to add the features to its SmartGov permit system, Powell says.
Spokane County also is using the SmartGov system, and the two jurisdictions are collaborating in an effort to provide a regionally consistent public portal format, he says.
Spokane Valley's portal will be linked to its website beginning next month, and the new features should be fully functional in September, Powell says.
The portal will provide online access at all hours, so that builders and other applicants don't have to come in or monitor progress during daytime construction hours.
The system also will be set up to indicate when a permit is ready to be issued, he says.
One goal of the online portal will be to enable the city's permit center staff to focus on issuing permits and spend less time responding to inquiries about permit status, Powell says.
In conjunction with launching the online portal, the city is recruiting candidates to apply for two new permit facilitator positions. Those new staff members will be brought in to enhance interactions between staff and customers and to streamline the permitting process for certain over-the-counter permits, he says.
When those positions are filled, the permit center will have a staff of 13, Powell says.
The improvements are intended to fulfill part of the Spokane Valley Community Development Department's 2013 business plan, which focuses on improving customer service, he says.
Spokane Valley's total permit volume in 2012 was $111.6 million, up 71 percent from a year earlier, and Powell says that trend has continued on an upward trajectory through the first half of 2013.
Subscribe today to our free E-Newsletters!SUBSCRIBE