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City to Launch All-Digital Permitting System and Eliminate Trip to City Hall

The City of Alexandria announced today that it will be launching APEX, a loftily-named new permitting and land use application system, early next month.

The goal of the new system is to take the complicated application system — which currently requires a trip to City Hall — and make it simpler and entirely digital. APEX is designed to handle everything from permits to add a new deck to a home to land use applications for larger projects, according to a promotional video for the new system.

“APEX will allow customers to apply for permits and development plan reviews, attach supporting documents and submit payment from computers or mobile devices, eliminating the need to make a trip to City Hall,” the city said in a press release. “City staff have worked to identify application and review processes that could be improved with the implementation of the new system.”

In addition to submitting applications, documents and drawings online, applicants will also be able to track the progress of their paperwork. Staff in the field will be able to access plans and process approvals on-site.

According to the press release, new features of the system include:

  • Electronic application, plan submission and review for permits and land use applications.
  • Improved communication between staff and customers.
  • Real-time status tracking for permit and land use applications.
  • Advanced search capabilities.
  • Online inspection scheduling, tracking and updates.
  • Online payments.

The system is scheduled to launch next Monday, Nov. 4, but until then there will be several service interruptions as the city switches over to the new system. This week, online permits will not be accepted, but paper applications can still be submitted at City Hall. The permit center will be closed, however, on Thursday, Oct. 31 and Friday, Nov. 1. The Department of Planning and Zoning will remain open.

During the first week of launch, the Permit Center will close at 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4 and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Nov. 5-8. Normal hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m.will resume the week of Monday, Nov. 11.

Arlington county launched a similar digital permitting system earlier this fall after piloting it over the summer — though the system hasn’t rolled out without problems.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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