Aligning Building Permits and Plan Reviews with Local Values
City of Fruita, ColoradoSeptember 21, 2023
Insight into the City of Fruita’s Cloudpermit journey toward local governance and autonomy, aligned local values, and excellent customer service.
The City of Fruita in Colorado was looking for more autonomy in its switch to in-house community development.
As part of Mesa County, the city had a contract with the county's building department to process, review, and issue building permits. The county issued permits on paper and then scanned documents into on-premises software.
In early 2023, the city brought building permits in-house. The desire for autonomy, excellent customer service, and improved workflows with cloud-based software, Cloudpermit, were driving factors in this decision.
As a home-rule municipality in Colorado, we can adopt regulations that make sense for us without needing to rely on the state,” said Henry Hemphill, City Planner for the City of Fruita. “We can have more oversight into construction and adopt building codes that reflect our values with in-house permitting."
Now, the city has gained more oversight with in-house and online building permitting, planning & zoning, and code enforcement with Cloudpermit.
We’ve issued over 500 permits online and have saved so much paper with online permit acceptance and issuance,” said Hemphill. “Residential site plans, commercial permits, and frequent flyer projects require a significant amount of paper. It’s incredible how much paper we can save by keeping projects in the cloud.”
Moving online also gave Fruita’s team an opportunity to think more critically about how their government works.
We are being thoughtful in our paperless approach," Hemphill shared. "We are setting the standard for smooth transitions to the cloud in our area."
He provided a straightforward example of their changes.
Now, we don't require people to post and print their plans on-site because we can access them on Cloudpermit."
By being more mindful of paper usage, Fruita is encouraging sustainable practices in its community.
We incorporate our city's values into everything we do and focus on lifestyle, economic health, and quality of place," he added. “By using cloud-based software, we can fast track gathering information for faster building permits and planning approvals. As a result, we can offer services aligned with our values that better respect our public’s time. Our citizens are very important to our council and staff, so we’re happy that our community has warmly embraced Cloudpermit.”
New applicants have fewer steps now since they no longer need to get an application from the county. They also no longer need to call the city for clarity on next steps.
Instead, they can start and finish applications online without needing to visit the government office.
They can also visit Fruita’s government office for in-person assistance or send questions online with the software.
Switching to in-house building permits feels much smoother with cloud-based software compared to relying on paper. It’s easier to store and organize information online.”
After making Cloudpermit available to the public, the office established a kiosk to assist applicants in person. They use this kiosk almost daily, mainly for one-time applicants.
We wanted the process of submitting an application to feel like an experience, not a transaction,” explained Fruita’s City Planner. "We can guide our residents through the software when they need assistance for a high level of customer service. Cloudpermit also makes it seamless to move through the process because you must complete each step before you can move forward.”
Departments spend less time looking for missing documents when applicants can only submit complete applications. This means they can focus on helping their community, just like Fruita does.
We showed new business owners how to apply for a permit recently. It felt great to help a small business with a new task that they likely won't need to do again. Starting a business can be overwhelming, so we're happy our community feels confident to seek out our support. Cloudpermit makes it easier for us to efficiently provide that support.”
Fruita not only offers meaningful guidance but has also accelerated the permitting and plans review process. In-house and online reviewing has shortened issuance from weeks to days.
We can review building permits and plans faster with Cloudpermit,” he explained. “From an economic perspective, this could mean our residents can take advantage of lower interest rates on new homes. The longer it takes to approve a permit, the higher the likelihood that interest rates could increase during that time.”
By issuing permits quickly, our community can start their projects faster. They can also potentially benefit from better interest rates and have access to their information in one place for better organization. We quickly give back control to our residents to continue with their projects with expedited permit issuance.
Hemphill stressed the value of government service and pointed out that keeping citizens informed is crucial for providing excellent support.
We send messages in Cloudpermit for 99% of our permits. Our applicants can easily log in to access past or ongoing conversations with our team, inspection results, and approved plans."
Keeping citizens informed was important, and Fruita's team also emphasized staying informed about how to use their new software. They gained valuable insights with support from their software provider during training and implementation.
There’s a lot of pressure to perform at a high level when you launch new software. The support we received from Cloudpermit helped us tremendously,” Hemphill said.
Our Customer Success Manager was amazing at walking us through the software and went above and beyond our expectations. He ensured we had the necessary tools for success, answered our questions, and gave us the confidence to explore new things. The excellent customer service we received during implementation enabled us to provide excellent service to our citizens.”
He concluded that his team is grateful to use software that aligns with their local values and is happy with their decision to choose Cloudpermit.