Have you been putting off a home improvement because the permitting process is just too much of a headache?
Or maybe you know one of those mavericks who skip the permit, risking a fine or shoddy workmanship. Not you of course, but maybe a neighbor?
Well, if so, you can be the first to tell them the good news. Hollywood’s Development Services Division has successfully rolled out a modern, efficient ePermit Building Permit Service!
And as one of the first few cities in the county to offer ePermitting, Hollywood residents can now apply, manage, pay for and schedule inspections for permits and projects online. Homeowners and professionals will save time and multiple trips to City Hall and will be able to start and complete projects sooner.
But wait, there’s more! The new plan is just the tip of the iceberg, according to Shiv Newaldass, Chief Development Officer and Interim Director of Development Services. A master plan has been designed to make the entire permitting process, and procedure of developing property in the city of Hollywood, an easier and more user-friendly affair.
“Just wait another two or three months, and you’ll really have a story to tell,” said Newaldass. “We’ve actually e-processed, in the past month, 550 applications. And for us, that’s about half the volume of print applications that come in during a month, in the smaller permits, and it’s been fairly successful. Residents like it, the examiners like it. They can do a lot of their work, right at the touch of a finger.”
He says that the preliminary data shows the city is capable of handling this level of activity and so far they’ve not had a single complaint.
“We wanted to make sure that we’re doing this all properly,” Newaldass added regarding the rollout. “We wanted to just test the waters, to see how it works for the general public and for our employees, to make sure it makes sense.”
Now residents, contractors, and tradesmen can submit one of over twenty “short review” permit applications electronically. “Short review” permits are considered small projects that can be reviewed expeditiously, do not require a design professional’s seal and typically only require one or two disciplines to review.
Here’s what currently qualifies as a “short review” project:
- Air Conditioner Replacement
- Backflow Preventor
- Dumpster Enclosures
- Electrical Repairs
- Electrical Service Changes
- Hot Water Heaters
- Lawn Sprinklers
- Low Voltage Reconnection
- Patios or Decks
- Punch & Fill
- Remove / Reset Roof Air Conditioner
- ROW Utility
- Sewer Caps
- Water Meters
- Windows and Doors
Because it’s digital, instantaneous and can be done concurrently instead of sequentially, the new process is efficient for the city, residents, and developers. “The goal is to reduce foot traffic and phone calls and make it a better experience for all,” said Andria Wingett, Department of Development Services Assistant Director.
According to the Department of Development Services staff, results have been resoundingly positive, and will hopefully make an impact on Hollywood’s bad reputation as a difficult place to do business. “And let’s face it,” said Newaldass, “in many cases, perception is reality.”
The city is encouraging e-permitting whenever possible, but if you do find that you need to come to City Hall, you’ll find improvements there, too. The waiting area has been moved and spruced up with comfortable new furniture and courtesy beverages, under the direction of Interim Chief Building Official Dean Decker, with a huge amount of behind the scenes work by Permit Services Supervisor Christina Gordon and Andria Wingett.
They’ve also started a new program called ‘Q-Less’ that allows you to sign in remotely from phone or computer, join a virtual queue before or at the waiting area, leave, and be called for your appointment. This is already available for many development service departments.
“The reason we’re so excited about all of this is that we’re creating an entire structural change of how we do business when it comes to permitting,” said Newaldass, citing the size and frequency of significant projects coming to Hollywood and large investments on the horizon. “We have the infrastructure, the hardware, the software, the training in place, and we’ve trained our team to handle the large projects that are coming in as well.”
The e-Permitting procedure is simple and straightforward. First gather required permit documents found online under each respective category and e-mail them to ePermits@hollywoodfl.org. Monitor progress and pay for your permit online and the permit will be emailed to you. Finally, schedule inspections online or call 954-921-3646.
Go to: https://www.hollywoodfl.org/1118/ePermit-Plan-Review to see which categories are currently included and/or begin your application.