The Village of Valley Stream Building Department has modernized its building permit application process by going digital with streamlined, user-friendly software. Residents can now submit their building permit applications online through the village’s OpenGov website. The latest update was launched in early November, following the example of the Town of Hempstead after it went live with its software upgrade a year and a half ago.
For those new to the seemingly mundane world of building permit applications and assessments, any person looking to remodel or construct a building on their property generally must apply for a building permit to ensure the project complies with local land use, zoning and construction standards. That could mean something as small as a new window to an extension on a house.
With this new website, gone are the days when residents had to make the trek to Village Hall to manually fill out and file a carbon-copy paper application. Gone, too, is the rather arcane rule that the village could only receive cash and checks to pay for building permit fees. Residents are now able to do everything online from anywhere and anytime and make their payments via credit card.
Building Department Supervisor Jen Piazza-Minori said the village’s old system ran on a traditional KVS server from the 1980s using physical hardware. That meant that if the physical server went down, everything would stop, and precious information could have been lost—not to mention time. The latest upgrade made hardware failure a thing of the past by replacing the physical server with a data storage space hosted virtually in the cloud. The provider of the cloud-based business process management software is OpenGov, whose software has been used by more than a thousand state and local governments nationwide. Engineering teams at OpenGov are making constant updates to the system, according to Minori, to ensure that information is safely stored and accessed efficiently.
During application review, rather than wait for a letter through snail mail regarding the status of your application, applicants receive an email notification immediately. Virtual documentation is saved at each stage of the process and made available to Building Department officials and residents. This means building inspectors can log in to the software, make their report on their iPad, and an email will immediately be sent to applicants notifying them of the reports on their files.