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Laurene Weste: City unveils new ePlan online service

Live from City Hall

Posted: January 28, 2010 9:34 p.m.
Updated: January 29, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Since its inception more than two decades ago, the city of Santa Clarita has been committed to helping its business community thrive while ensuring a high quality of life for residents.

The latest example of the city’s dedication to this effort is its new ePlans application.

Part of the city’s “21-Point Business Plan for Progress,” the online application now allows local businesses and community members to submit their plans for building projects electronically and via the Internet, facilitating the entitlement and construction process more efficiently than ever before.

Unveiled earlier this month, ePlans provides applicants with the ability to submit any type of development-related document to be reviewed and tracked electronically. The City Council identified this application as a priority after receiving feedback from the local business community, which requested a new way to expedite the development review and approval process.

Traditionally, applicants looking for approval on projects ranging from large-scale developments to residential room additions were required to submit multi-page paper plans to not only the city, but also to several different public agencies located both inside and outside of Santa Clarita. The process could be time-consuming and costly when expenditures for travel and printing services were added up.

ePlans is not only available to the business community, but can also be accessed by residents doing permitted work to their homes, as well as other agencies, such as school districts or the Los Angeles County Fire Department, that participate in the approval process.

More importantly, there is absolutely no cost for any individual, company or agency to access and use Santa Clarita’s ePlans application.  

With ePlans, an applicant uploads plans or documents via Internet Explorer to a secure Web site, and the system saves them in their original format.

An applicant can also bring in plans electronically on a computer disc or drive to City Hall. As the plans are reviewed, ePlans creates a series of snapshots to record project reviewer comments for approval.

Because reviewers can see layers of plans in different stages of review, the system decreases the likelihood of a business or organization overlooking a mistake.

With ePlans’ Web-based file submission and review, applicants experience lower costs, higher-efficiency circulating plans among multiple city departments, and a faster response.

It’s also a greener choice, exponentially reducing printing, storage and copying costs, as well as drive time.

Because plans and documents are securely uploaded to the ePlans system for review and approval, residents and businesses can be relieved of the need to drive to obtain agency approval within and outside of Santa Clarita. During creation of the new service and in the pilot phase, city staff aggressively reached out to local, county and state agencies to encourage their support and participation in using the ePlans application to improve the overall experience of review and approval services.

Reviewers can make changes to plans via the system and send plans back to the applicant or other approval outlets without needing to travel or print additional copies.

Plans can be accessed at any time by virtually every business or agency involved in the process, expediting approval and increasing customer service by allowing businesses and residents to begin construction faster.

Santa Clarita’s ePlans application represents yet another extension of the city’s business-friendly efforts, while also enhancing quality of life by facilitating building projects with greater ease than ever before and supporting green initiatives that reduce our carbon footprint and use of limited natural resources.

For more information about Santa Clarita’s ePlans please contact Technology Services Manager Kevin Tonoian at (661) 286-4027.

Laurene Weste is Mayor of Santa Clarita. She can be reached at lweste@santa-clarita.com. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Live from City Hall” is provided by the city and appears Fridays.

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