Santa Barbara News-Press: Land Development Team launches online permitting system
Check out Accela in the article below!
Santa Barbara News-Press – November 8, 2020
Starting Monday, residents of Santa Barbara will no longer have to drop off paper plan sets or application fees in person at the Community Development or Public Works counters.
The Land Development Team launched an online permitting system that accepts the submission of most Building, Planning and Public Works applications and permits.
Santa Barbara’s new Accela Citizen Access Portal launched in spring of this year, and it allows applicants to track the progress of their project applications and city activities from start to finish.
This will reduce the time needed for the review of plans and permits and simplify the building permit application choices.
The online citizen portal is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to submit plans or pay fees.
Through an On-Demand permitting process, applicants will be able to apply, pay and instantly receive their building permit online without a staff contact, starting with “Like-for-Like” roofing replacements and eventually moving to water heater and furnace replacements and new small residential solar photovoltaic systems.
Training materials on navigating the online system are available online now, and a On-Demand permitting system training session is planned for later this fall.
Those attending will learn an overview of the ACA permitting system, how to submit applications, upload documents and plans, make payments and track the project’s status.
For building permit services, visit https://www.
For public works, visit https://www.
For planning applications, visit https://www.
Check out Accela in the article below!
By Andrew Westrope
GovTech- June 15, 2020
When local governments reflect on 2020, one of their takeaway lessons might be the importance of adaptability. Although gov tech giant Accela had this in mind before agencies from coast to coast had shuttered their offices, the company today announced a new civic application to help fire departments make prevention work more flexible.
Accela’s new SaaS tool for fire prevention is its eighth in a series of civic applications, starting March 2018, all of which aim to replace paper-based processes with digital workflows and automated steps. The company’s news release said the new fire prevention application streamlines aspects of fire plan reviews, inspections and fire permitting, and it includes mobile tools for team inspections and training.
Aaron Williams, Accela’s senior director of solution architecture, said the application is essentially for anything a fire department needs to document, permit or inspect, which in many places includes thousands of occupancies a year. He said normally this would involve reams of printed paper, hand-delivered inspection notices, clipboards, file cabinets and potentially a lot of staff time.
“That used to be a three-week process for them to do a sweep of annuals, and now that three weeks is almost entirely gone, because all you have to do is store it in your system,” Williams said. “This will automatically schedule the inspections on the annual date, and the inspections are routed out to the stations over the Internet through our software and performed on mobile devices. You’re essentially eliminating paper entirely from the process.”
He said the product comes in three iterations: an entry-level “fire essentials” package, which can transition a department off of a paper process in a matter of weeks; a more robust “fire extended” version with more features and dashboards; and a “fire enterprise” version for inventory management and team inspections of higher-occupancy structures like high-rises and stadiums.
Accela has been selling software to expedite fire prevention processes for years, but under the original series of “civic solutions,” now being phased out in favor of new civic applications. Williams said Accela’s original civic platform of solutions was a development tool that gave governments the ability to configure their business processes, but some of those configurations became hard to maintain.
“What happened is, the solutions evolved with agencies internally over time, and they were as good as the last IT department. … The machine got so big and so complicated, you needed more people to maintain it,” he said. “With civic applications, you don’t need that product manager anymore, because Accela has that product manager, focused on building that product, fixing bugs, enhancing features.”
Besides being the next application in the series, Williams said the new fire prevention software was partially inspired by other work with government agencies through COVID-19, asking them what they needed. He said a lot of them had to close their offices that handled permits, so they were looking for mobile, digital alternatives.
“They needed to get online, like, tomorrow, or in the next few days. So we created generic solutions where you could just set the thing up, not very invasive for your staff,” he said. “A bunch of people used it, and we saw the opportunity to do the same thing with fire.”
Accela’s news release corroborated the idea that governments are going mobile: More than 80 percent of the company’s new customers since the pandemic purchased solutions in the cloud, and 66 percent of its entire customer base is in the cloud.