Tupelo: Digital Building Applications Will Speed Up Permits

TUPELO, MS (AP) — Tupelo officials hope that digital applications will let them cut in half the time needed to decide whether to approve commercial building permits.

         Another benefit of online submissions would be knowing precisely when applications are turned in, Shane Hooper, director of Tupelo Developmental Services, told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal’s Zack Orsborn.

         "Our hope is one day that people won't have to come to the third floor to make an application for a permit," Hooper said. "All the pieces to the permit can be submitted online. There was no way to really know when applications were turned in and no real quality control."

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         He said he and other department staffers got some ideas from an August trip to Huntsville, Alabama.

         The department is already encouraging contractors to submit digital versions of their drawings, rather than printing them out.

         "Instead of people bringing up a big roll of drawings, we encourage a digital version," he said. "When architects do their drawings now, they don't have draftsmen sitting back there with a piece of paper. It's all digital."

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         Hooper says the department plans to choose software in the spring and to ask the city for money in the next budget cycle.

         He says he hopes to cut the application process from 48 days to 21 days, letting contractors get to work sooner.

         "When the contractors go to work, construction workers get paid," and the project becomes a source of city revenue, he said.

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