Las Vegas adopts online permitting for builders, developers

Las Vegas adopts online permitting for builders, developers

The city is partnering with a digital services technology provider to advance online and contactless services related to building applications, documents and even inspections with the planning office

The city of Las Vegas is expanding its online service portfolio with a platform that will allow businesses, real estate developers and others to digitally file important documents. The new system will allow developers to file building plans online and will also facilitate some remote inspections, CIO Michael Sherwood explained. “Not only do you need to be online, but your online presence needs to provide seamless interactions and be frictionless,” he said in an email.

The new technology, from provider Infor, has multiple modules — the main one being the Community Development Regulation (CDR) module. “Think of it as a permitting, planning and licensing system for use in regulatory matters,” explained Bob Benstead, director of public sector and utilities with the company.

Another module does asset management, he added, which oversees things like treatment plants and some of their infrastructure within the city.

The technology is based on a single platform and is designed to be “location and people-centric,” said Benstead. “Which means if you have all of your addresses, parcels, land and properties, people, companies, it’s at the center and shared amongst all these other functions,” said Benstead.

The system gives developers and residents more control over business interactions with the city, allowing them to submit applications, building plans and other documents via the online portal, eliminating trips to city offices and interactions with staff.

“Having that ability to not only get those [documents] submitted, and have constant dialogue on those… the communication cycle is that much shorter,” said Benstead. “Because that costs the developer money. Every time you’re out there waiting on a green light to go do something, that’s costing you big, big bucks.”The move toward digital services is not new. However, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend, necessitated by a need by the government to have staff work from anyplace, and safety requirements preventing in-person gatherings. But even before COVID, cities were looking for opportunities to migrate services online, seeming to mimic broader societal trends around e-commerce and the ubiquity of mobile devices.

Government has turned to technology to help manage vacation rentalsservices at motor vehicle officespayments and other services.

Back in Las Vegas, city officials are not done building on the services already offered, as Sherwood predicted the introduction of “artificial intelligence-based assistants and the ability to manage your entire municipal relationship online, from the payment of fees to scheduling a recreational activity, all from one simple-to-use portal.”

Image: The Las Vegas metro area experienced among the largest gains of any region in the country, largely due to the construction industry. David Kidd/Government Technology


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