Philadelphia has launched a digital tool, the Permit Navigator, to improve access to information about necessary permits, approvals and other requirements for some residential and commercial projects, according to a city press release Monday.
The city said it created the tool in response to requests from businesses and homeowners to help them understand which permits they need for their projects. Most of the information it provides relates to necessary permits for existing one- or two-family homes and commercial storefronts, such as those for offices and retail sales.
“The Permit Navigator is designed to improve the ease of doing business for business owners looking to open or expand in Philadelphia. The goal is to make it easier for residents to find information on business permits and licenses,” said Philadelphia Department of Commerce Director Anne Nadol in a statement. “Commerce staff will continue to provide one-on-one customer service, outreach, and education to businesses about City services.”
The SmartCity PHL team, part of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation of Technology, collaborated with the Department of Commerce, the Department of Licenses and Inspections and the Department of Planning and Development to launch the pilot.
The city will hold public feedback sessions with businesses, community-based organizations, property owners and other stakeholders to learn whether the tool is helpful to them as they go through the permitting process.
Philadelphia joins other local and state governments, including Sacramento County, California, and the state of Washington, trying to improve and speed up complex approval processes. Real estate developers, homeowners and others have said that it’s difficult to understand the rules, which makes construction more challenging.