Chesterfield County has set up an online system to allow the submission and review of development plans by email, a move that comes in response to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
County officials were interested in a new submission process for development plans online before the pandemic, and the concept took on new urgency as officials searched for a way to move construction and its employees forward in the county. Construction is one of the industries that the state government considers essential, allowing it to continue at sites in the region.
“We needed some parts of that now,” said planning director Greg Allen. “We worked very quickly to rally all the departments. “
The messaging system launched last week and appears to be working fine, Allen said, adding that it allows county employees and developers to meet social distancing guidelines.
The county’s community development department worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation, a regular development partner as the agency maintains the county’s roads, to put the program in place. Costs associated with the impromptu first phase of program deployment were negligible, and primarily a matter of mixing existing resources and equipment, such as large monitors to view plans more easily, to allow staff to review. home plans, Allen said.
The email system is a first step towards the new corporate land management system the county is considering. The county hopes to see the full system, which will include an online portal for reviewing the submission of plans as well as scheduling inspections and other services, launched later this year or early next year, has Allen said. The county has allocated $ 3.8 million to develop the system.
With the new system, tabletop journals no longer require in-person meetings for minor issues. Scheduling a tabletop exam is now faster and ends in five days with the online system, compared to up to two weeks with the manual system.
The county has also eliminated limitations on submission days. Previously, manual submission required submitting new plans by Tuesday to allow county employees to take a first review the same week. Now plans can be submitted any day and plans will be prepared for review the morning of the next business day.
The new program reduces printing costs. The county still requires paper plans to be submitted to the planning department, but the online system reduces the required number of these to five, or two sets for resubmitted plans. Under the manual system, the county needed 13 sets of plans. You will find a guide on how the new system works online here.