Tampa to take permit applications online

As part of plans to fortify Tampa's economic development, the process of applying for building permits has officially gone virtual. Next month, the city will launch a new application system for entrepreneurs and developers seeking permits in the Tampa Bay area, cutting time and inconvenience out of the protracted process as it exists today. Users can file for new permits, track their requests as they are reviewed and request inspections. 

The move to virtual applications was made in an effort to expedite the process for business people in Tampa looking to expand or develop new space. Ironically, to help entrepreneurs open more brick and mortar operations, the city has relied on tried-and-true features of a virtual office: paperless document processing. 

Tampa's new platform was developed by Accela Automation for $2.7 million, an investment that could yield high rewards if startups in the area capitalize on the ease and user friendliness of applying for permits online. Busy professionals who had trouble making time to appear at the Development Services Center can now start the process of building and development from their home or office computer screens. 

"Last year, Tampa permitted a record $2 billion in development. That number indicates that Tampa is growing, and in order to continue to facilitate that growth, we have to make it easy to do business with the City of Tampa," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn in a news release.

Mayor Buckhorn encouraged the change as part of his Economic Competitiveness Committee, formed in 2011 to perform diagnostics on Tampa's commercial climate. According to the St. Petersburg Tribune, taking permit applications online marks the final phase of the committee's recommendation to modernize regulatory systems for the benefit of entrepreneurs. 

The service will go live on January 13, so Tampa residents won't have to wait much longer for simpler permit applications. 

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