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Arlington nearly done migrating land development permits online

Permit Arlington logo (via Arlington County)

Nearly all land development permits that Arlington County issues are now online.

Following the launch of the online Permit Arlington in 2019 with 18 digitized permits, county staff have since added others. The last batch of land development permits — Certificate of Occupancy applications — are set to launch the week of Feb. 27.

Most recently, over last summer, the county migrated the building, trade and land-disturbing activity permits, which are “some of our highest volume permits,” says Dept. of Community Housing, Planning and Development spokeswoman Erika Moore.

“We issue about 16,000 building and trades permits and conduct about 60,000 inspections, annually,” she said.

Making this move caused some technical difficulties for both the county and users. There was an initial delay with issuing permits right after moving to the new system, but overall, “the processing time for permits has not increased,” she said.

“The work associated with these types of permits [has] a higher level of complexity due to the nature of construction projects,” Moore said. “Therefore, there was a large number of active permit applications that needed to be migrated to the new system, which presented technological challenges. Additionally, many applicants were new and not familiar with the system, which generated a high volume of requests for assistance.”

She says the Permit Arlington team has been working through issues submitted by customers. It has led to an increase in the size of the help desk team and, in response to customer inquiries, has added “how-to” documents to navigate the new system.

“With the phased launches of Permit Arlington, we are moving from a system with 1990 technology to a modern system,” Moore said. “We intentionally also made the decision to move all the data from the old system to the new system to have a full historical record of permits, rather than just focusing on active or new applications.”

Permit records are most up-to-date in Permit Arlington. The old permit search platform is only updated through June 27, 2022, when digitized building, trade and land-disturbing activity permits launched.

Ahead of the most recent Arlington County Board election, candidates praised Permit Arlington, adding that increasing the number of permits submitted through Permit Arlington and providing more funding for it would help local businesses.

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