Online permit process takes shape |

Online permit process takes shape

Anne Knowles

The years-long project to develop a regional license and permit process in Washoe County took a step forward this month when employees from local jurisdictions began designing the platform.

Washoe County, the cities of Reno and Sparks and the Health District held a kick-off meeting for about 100 staff members, then 18 employees began training and designing the interface for the new system based on Civic Platform from Accela, a cloud-based application.

The goal is to create a single, region-wide online application process for building permits and business licenses.

“We’ve had complaints from customers for several years that the process is different in each jurisdiction, that they have to fill things out three times,” says Michael Chaump, development and business services manager for the City of Reno. “We’re processing everything on paper right now and this will automate all functions. People will now have 24-7 access. Field officers will have mobile devices and have real-time information in the field and not have to re-enter everything into a computer back at work.”

The ultimate target is for businesses to need only a single business license for Washoe County, Reno and Sparks.

“That’s a lofty goal. I think it’s 24 to 36 months down the road,” says Chaump. “There has to be some changes to municipal codes and fee schedules.”

The planning process began in 2012 and the four jurisdictions signed an interlocal agreement on June 17 and a contract with Accela on June 30. Two weeks ago a group of so-called subject matter experts underwent a two-and-a-half-day training session and began customizing the application’s user interface, which can be tailored for each jurisdiction’s needs. Once completed, the subject matter experts will be responsible for training other employees.

Next, says Chaump, the application will be tested and built, then tested with end-users, before being launched in January 2016.