Arlington, VA

Arlington County is hoping to launch part of its digitized permitting systems next month.

Starting September 9, residents and businesses will be able to apply for some permits online, as well as ask questions and check on the status of pending applications, in what officials hope will be a “welcome relief” for local businesses.

“The new system will lead customers seamlessly from the County’s website into online permit applications,” said county planning department spokeswoman Jessica Margarit.

“Customers will be able to apply online 24/7 from their computers or mobile devices,” Margarit said in an email Wednesday. “The system will accept completed applications, uploaded plans and supporting documents and online payments. Customers will be able to check the status of their applications, track their permit’s process and receive email notifications about their application(s).”

Officials tested the system over the summer, which found bugs related to how users upload files, search for permits, and receive update notifications. All of those problems have been addressed, according to Margarit.

The September start date will digitize 18 types of permits, including site plans, rezoning requests, and the small cell facilities for 5G providers.

In a second, future phase of the project, the county will digitize 21 additional types of permit, including those for building permits, inspections, and accessory dwelling units (for which the Arlington County Board recently loosened the requirements.) For now, residents will need to continue applying for the second phase permits in person at the county’s Courthouse office.

Arlington Board Chair Christian Dorsey previously acknowledged the digital database was a long time coming, but said it would be a “a welcome relief for many of our community’s businesses.”

Several business owners have said the county’s lengthy permit process delays opening dates and stifles business.

The county is hosting public meetings about the changes at county government HQ in Courthouse on Thursday, August 22 and Tuesday, September 17 from 3-8 p.m., and on Wednesday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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