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York, PA converts to digital permitting with low-cost, no-code solution

York, PA, USA
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Goverment Champion

Building and Zoning

Cost

Initial:
2 Thousand USD
Maintenance:
2 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2020

Keywords

permitting
Online Permitting
Digital Permitting

Challenges Addressed

Essential Services
Permitting
Payment

Motivation

Smart city
Resilient city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type

Technology

At a Glance

York PA was ready to transition to digital permitting: online applications and reviews, automatic status updates. They wanted to reduce staff data entry and speed up permitting post-COVID. They made a decision based on speed to implement, cost, and ability to control their own technology.

Problem Addressed

The City of York, PA was in the same situation that many small and mid-sized cities encounter: their data management system for building permits was obsolete, and had never been able to accommodate online applications, payments, or digital workflow. Staff was spending too much time doing data entry, and it was hard to keep track of permit status.

When they looked at the "usual suspects" for building permitting software, they realized they couldn't justify either the time it would take to implement them or the expense. And even though they have a relatively small staff, they wanted a software system that they could control themselves. They'd already been in the situation where only technical people and consultants could make system changes, and they knew they wanted something more flexible and user-friendly.

York, PA used/is using CityGrows low-cost, no-code permitting software to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

The City of York opted to work with CityGrows which provides an online permitting software that is low-cost, fast to set up, and easy for non-technical staff to manage complex permitting workflows. In a few weeks, York’s team was able to get 15 priority permitting processes online for residents and small business owners - including zoning, pool safety checks, temporary food service permits.

"Having CityGrows means we can continue to respond to new requirements quickly, all while having our team safely work from home," said Philip Given, Acting Director of Economic and Community Development. "Our permit applicants really appreciate being able to submit and track their permit progress online, and our team is working efficiently together whether they're in the office or at home. We're excited to see CityGrows continue to improve its software. I'd recommend it to any government looking for an affordable digital permitting solution."

Outcomes

  1. All of the City's permitting workflows are online now, allowing the City to issue new permits in an average of less than 7 days/ permit.
  2. City has put more than 15 permits online so far across several departments
  3. Staff does less data entry
  4. Applicants have 24/7 access to their permit status, reducing calls and emails to the permit team so they can work on approvals.
  5. City staff can work from home or in the office and still keep the permitting process moving.

Something Unique

When governments switch to CityGrows they see increased compliance, increase revenue, and spend less time on each permit. That means economic activity can get back to normal faster.

Who Should Consider?

Any sized community that wants a digital permitting solution that is cost-effective (often just a few hundred dollars/month for all users and all workflows, not per user!).

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