On June 18, 2014 At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu submitted an interim report that addresses various permitting and zoning obstacles facing Boston businesses. The report comes from the Special Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation which Councilor Wu chairs.
The proposals address the barrier to entry for new businesses and streamlines a process which has in some cases become bloated, over-regulated, and antiquated. After Mayor Walsh or other members of the City Council comment on the report, some or all of the proposals may be considered by the full City Council for a vote.
It can be difficult for a new business to plan openings, construction, and hiring when timelines for permits and licenses are a mystery. Even worse this timeline can be a surprise to new entrepreneurs who have never navigated the permitting procedures of ISD and City Hall.
Some of the highlights of Councilor Wu’s report include:
1. Publicizing estimated timelines for obtaining various permits and licenses based on data.
2. Institute a case manager system
3. Implement technology to shorten unnecessary delays by several weeks.
This week, the Boston IT department announced a hack-a-thon to solicit ideas from local developers. The hack-a-thon will tackle some of the problems discussed in the interim report including:
- Which Permits Do I Need?: A single project may require multiple permits. Applicants need a clear, intuitive, and enjoyable guide that will help applicants identify the permits they need to start working!
- What’s my Address of Record?: Every project needs to be linked to an address in the City’s master database. In the current system, finding your address is tougher than it should be. Our new online system needs a clear way to search addresses and suggest alternatives, getting it right the first time.
- Can I Apply for that Permit Online?: With September 1st weeks away, developers will try their hand at a challenge to provide a very practical solution using the City’s new API – creating a simple online and/or mobile application for Street Occupancy permits required to block space for a moving truck.
- Where am I in the Approval Process?: Complex building projects can take months to review and permit, even if the process works correctly. Residents needs a clear way to track all permits associated with their project, which helps them understand how close they are to getting underway.From : http://hubhacks.challengepost.com/