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File photo of permits for a Pinkberry store in Clarendon

(Updated 12:24 p.m.) After several months of testing, Arlington County’s new ePlan Review process for submitting building permit and land disturbance applications will go online February 1. No paper submissions will be accepted after that, saving builders a trip to the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development’s Courthouse headquarters–except to pay the fees.

The change speeds up the application process for residential and new construction, additions and renovations by about 25 percent, said CHPD director Steve Cover. Electronic processing allows copies of plans to be sent electronically to the various divisions involved in approving permits, eliminating time-consuming hand-delivery of paper copies.

“We’ve had about 12 volunteers help test it and work out the kinks,” Cover said. “And according to my staff, all systems are go for February 1.”

The ePlan Review is one of the first improvements for doing business in Arlington in the on-going One Stop Arlington program, Cover said. As other streamlining elements of the program are added, the time it takes to approve or deny a permit will continue to speed up.

But for now, applicants for building permits still will have to pay fees in person. To make payment online feasible, Cover said, “is a significant change. But probably by the end of 2017 it will be fully operational.”

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