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Digital Permitting and Payments in York, PA increase transparency and efficiency

York, PA, USA

At a Glance

York, PA was struggling to complete accurate data entry and wasting countless hours of staff time manually handling permits and reviews. With an emphasis on permitting speed and the ability to work remotely, they were able to digitize their review process.

Problem Addressed

As a growing mid-sized city, York, PA struggled to address and review its permit applications. City staff had to spend an excessive amount of time completing data entry and not enough time keeping track of permit status. Their paper-based process limited staff ability, leaving them unable to efficiently accommodate online applications, payment and digital workflow. They didn't want to move to an overly complex new system, which would leave staff without full permitting control.

This created inefficiencies in the building permitting process costing the city precious time and resources that could have been spent on higher priority customer facing needs.

York, PA used/is using CityGrows permitting software to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

The City of York knew that they had to implement a new solution if they were to meet growing permitting needs. They used online permitting software, CityGrows, for managing complex permitting workflows. It helps cities streamline their permit workflows by moving permit and zoning applications from PDFs or papers to the platform. This centralizes all permitting processes- from zoning and pool safety checks, to temporary food service permits- while giving applicants 24/7 access to their permit status.

CityGrows was implemented in the City of York within a few weeks and allowed them to effectively centralize their data. This helped staff adapt to remote work, as information can be accessed from any computer.


  1. Ability to process a permit within 7 days, representing a 75% of time saving, and has processed thousands of applications since the program's launch
  2. City has put more than 15 permits online, with a small business COVID-relief grant application created within a few days of implementation
  3. Capacity to work from home and still efficiently manage the permitting process and create more time for customer support
  4. Less calls and emails to the permit team because applicants can track their permit status in real-time
  5. More compliance and easier reconciliation for Finance staff as a result of online payments integrated with permit and license applications

Lessons Learned

  1. Online payments that are integrated with permit and license applications mean better compliance and easier reconciliation for Finance staff.

Who Should Consider?

Any permitting department looking to streamline and digitize their permitting system.

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