County agencies join forces to increase efficiencies and simplify the permitting process for the development community
St. Louis County is the most populous in Missouri with over 998,000 citizens. It encompasses 91 municipalities and 23 fire districts, and borders but does not include the City of St. Louis. The number of municipalities and fire districts makes it a challenge for contractors and developers to know exactly which jurisdiction or agency they need to visit to apply for permits and request inspections.
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) wanted to find a better way. The agency’s existing legacy permitting and plan review system wasn’t taking advantage of newer web and GIS technologies. St. Louis County’s Public Works Department was already using the Accela Civic Platform for Permitting and Inspections. After identifying several advantages the two agencies could gain by working together, including newer technology, a shared configuration and permitting best practices, the MSD decided to make the switch.
HOW ACCELA EMPOWERS ST. LOUIS COUNTY
Although these two agencies share common customers from the development community, each one has historically had to maintain its own database of information. As a result, customers had to enter their information several times—even when dealing with multiple permits for the same project. Also, agencies often had to coordinate with their counterparts to complete the permitting process. With Accela, both agencies can share this data and customers can go to a single website to obtain a permit.
Now, both agencies will be able to look into the system and determine the status and the outcome of their reviews or inspections, which will assist them with better coordination. In the long run, this will make it easier for customers to get their permits and have more knowledge of where their permits are in the process. And, the solution is flexible enough to manage each agency’s unique requirements while still letting them benefit from a shared configuration.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This collaborative, web-based model will help these permitting agencies operate more seamlessly while simplifying the process for the development community. It will also help local economic development groups better champion the region and encourage development in the St. Louis area. Many of these same groups, including the Associated General Contractors of St. Louis, have formed the St. Louis Regional Permitting Collaborative and are encouraging other municipalities and fire districts in the region to work together to achieve even greater results.