City leverages the Accela Civic Platform to streamline demolition process, improve transparency and support cost recovery
The City of Cleveland is an urban center located on Lake Erie. Boasting the second largest building department in the State, Cleveland’s implementation of an enterprise e-government solution through the Accela Civic Platform meant that they could easily serve customers 24/7 while dramatically improving the permit approval process.
However, the City was impacted significantly by the downturn in the housing market and was contending with numerous vacant and distressed homes. In order to abate the nuisances and demolish the structures, the agency was required to manage multiple tracking documents and was limited to server-side Excel spreadsheets that were difficult to update across departments.
Building Commissioner Tom Vanover wanted to leverage Accela’s Civic Platform to track documentation, assign workflow and improve transparency. “We developed a demolition program. Through Accela, we created a record that takes our property that has been issued a violation notice and has gone through the legal processes. It tags it so we know where the physical file is. As the property moves through the process, asbestos survey, demolition and cost recovery, it is tracked in one record.”
Today, the department can view and track the progress of nuisance abatement requests and demolitions online. With the solution’s demolition record, deficiencies have been quickly identified and the department is seeing a 70 percent increase in demolition contracts awarded monthly. Additionally, the City is able to track the financial aspects associated with each case, including amount spent for demolition and abatement actions as well as purchase order information.
The City leverages the Accela Land Management solution for planning, permitting, inspections and code enforcement, and also utilizes Accela Citizen Access, Accela GIS and Accela Mobile Office.
Vanover is confident that Cleveland’s future is bright. “We’re breaking records for permits and construction, but to get there you need to pull the weeds. We are moving the City to a place where we give more information to the public, are more efficient at tracking our own records and are creating a systematic process.”