State Online Permitting Laws: How It Impacts Local Governments and Your Community

Written by Woody Estep

How will Assembly Bill 1145 impact your permitting processes?

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In 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill 1145 into law. The bill requires local governments to transition their paper-based construction-related applications and permits to an “Electronic Permit Processing Review System.” With similar legislation on the docket in Florida and other states, local governments should be ready to embrace a digital permitting workflow.

What does Assembly Bill 1145 Outline?

In the next year, all local governments in New Jersey must adopt an internet-based system for the electronic submission of applications for construction permits and plans. The system is required to include the ability to electronically review and approve applications or plans, schedule inspections, and provide a means to exchange other important information between the applicant and staff during the permitting process. The bill also requires that the internet-based system provide continuous, 24-hour accessibility for scheduling requests and submitting the necessary documentation for permits. To offset the costs of the online permitting system, New Jersey legislators included a section of the bill allowing local governments to collect surcharge fees during the first three years following the implementation.

What Features Should an Online Permitting Solution Include?

With many options on the market, it’s important to pick an online permitting solution that best fits the unique needs of your community. A good solution should relieve pain points in your staff’s workflow and create positive civic experiences for your community.

Consider the following during your search:

  • Online payment capabilities
  • Customizable and streamlined workflows
  • Mobile operations option
  • 24/7 accessibility on any device
  • A notification center for both staff and the applicant

How will Online Permitting Help Your Community?

Across the country, community expectations for more digital self-service tools are growing. By implementing an online permitting tool, local governments meet this expectation while also increasing revenue and streamlining staff operations. Residents no longer wait in long lines at city hall to handle the permitting process, which also puts valuable time back into staff’s schedules. Residents can submit their applications, pay fees, request inspections, and download their permits in one centralized location, creating more positive civic experiences between your community and local government.

As New Jersey and other states embrace a digital self-service approach to local governments, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start. Take our ten-question assessment to find out where your administration is on the digital transformation spectrum.