By next year, La Cañada residents should be able to submit planning permits online and track their progress in real time, thanks to a commitment made Tuesday by City Council members to fund a $422,343 three-year contract with Texas-based Tyler Technologies.
The new cloud-based permitting system will also allow for online credit card payments and send email notices to contractors and applicants whenever there's a comment or question, or when the approval process has been completed, city staffer Arabo Parseghian told council members Tuesday.
The current paper system requires contractors and residents to visit City Hall to pull permits and then follow up with staff through phone calls or in-person visits, Parseghian said. By contrast, the online permitting system will allow people to log on and see where permits are in the process.
Parseghian said the new digitized system should significantly increase the efficiency and the progress of the permitting process.
"The system will allow our inspectors to have iPads in the field, where they can do real-time inspections and real-time updates, so contractors know at all times exactly what's going on with the permits that they're pulling," he added.
Another big project on the horizon is the eventual purchase and creation of an administrative records-management system, which will allow paper documents to be scanned and readable online. Once that's been established, residents, contractors and city staff will be able to access the entire available history of a building or property as well.
Parseghian assured the council that any data stored onto "the cloud," a network of servers that allow for the virtual online storage of software and services, as opposed to hard memory stored on a computer, will be secured and remain in the city's possession whether the contract with Tyler Technologies is renewed or ended.
"I'm really very, very pleased to see this coming down. I think it's going to really help out all the departments, especially planning," Councilman Jon Curtis said of the new planning software. "And it will be great for neighbors and residents."