Category Archives: Land Management Software

Online Zoning Software Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about some of the Zoning features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.6     Zoning

1.6.1. Describe the solution’s capabilities to process citizen’s applications, track zoning, and land use processes.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve planning and zoning software completely automates the process of application, review, routing, resubmittals, and public notification. Applicants can submit applications, attach plan documents, pay application fees, and view the status of their applications through the online portal. Applications are automatically routed to the appropriate reviewers based on your workflow routes. Plan reviewers have access to searchable electronic reference materials including building code handbooks, GIS layers, and property history.

You can track due dates for public notices and legal advertisements based on the hearing dates you select. You can easily build your plan review reports by selecting comments from custom libraries of review comments. We will build the custom libraries of comments during implementation to include comments associated with the City’s building, fire, and other codes, and will maintain the libraries as part of our unlimited support. You can electronically comment on plans with the Electronic Plan Review tool by adding notes, highlights, and other annotations. Through a flexible and user-friendly interface, Citizenserve helps keep your projects organized and on schedule.

1.6.2. Describe the solution’s capabilities to generate hearing and public notices.

Citizenserve Response: We create a wide variety of hearing and public notices; all templates are developed custom for the customer, and can include any fields from Citizenserve. You can track due dates for public notices and legal advertisements based on the hearing dates you select

1.6.3. Describe the solution’s capabilities to schedule meetings and hearings. Describe how the proposed solution integrates with Outlook to share this information with internal staff and external customers, including the ability to check resource calendars for availability.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve has built-in calendaring that is browser and device independent.  Activities in Citizenserve can be sent to the user’s work calendar in Outlook or Google via the built-in calendar integration feature.  Two-way custom integration is also possible using Exchange Web Services.

1.6.4. Describe the solution’s capabilities to store and report on case information, hearing results and pending case information.

Citizenserve Response: A complete case history and status can be maintained in Citizenserve, including hearing results and any pending case information. We will identify required reporting during implementation, and will build custom reports to meet the City’s requirements. The City can decide which information to share on the public portal so that relevant parties have access to current case and status information.

1.6.5. Describe how the land use management capabilities of the zoning application flow into the plan review process in terms of addressing any related parcels?

Citizenserve Response: Plan reviewers have access to searchable electronic reference materials including GIS layers and property history. You can easily build your plan review reports by selecting comments from custom libraries of review comments. We will build the custom libraries of comments during implementation to include comments associated with the City’s building, fire, and other codes, and will maintain the libraries as part of our unlimited support. You can electronically comment on plans with the Electronic Plan Review tool by adding notes, highlights, and other annotations.

1.6.6. Describe the solution’s capabilities to attach PDF or Word documents to zoning applications. Can multiple files be attached to the applications? Can links be provided to an external document management system?

Citizenserve Response: Both PDF and Word documents can be attached to zoning applications; multiple files can be attached to an application. Links can be provided to an external document management system if this integration has been included in the implementation.

Electronic Plan Review Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about Electronic Plan Review features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.5     Electronic Plan Review

1.5.1. Describe your solution’s EPR capabilities. Please include how payments are made, the ability to automatically screen and route plans to the appropriate examiner, version management, archiving, and document recovery.

Citizenserve Response: Contractors can submit documents on the online portal.  Fees can be charged in various ways for plan review activities.  Payments can be made online and invoice and accounts receivable processes can be set up.  Plans are routed via the workflow routing features in Citizenserve.  Unlimited storage is provided as part of the subscription.  Bluebeam integration is available.  We typically recommend a project-based approach to deciding which tools to use.  If the architects and engineers are using Bluebeam on a project, then go with Bluebeam on that project; if it is a small project and an owner/builder, then maybe the built-in tool is best.

1.5.2. Describe the solution’s Plan Review capabilities, including the plan scheduling and routing process.

Citizenserve Response: You can create customized workflows that mimic your plan review process and digitally track plan review status and comments. Each application type can have a specific review route or workflow route, and each workflow route can contain different activity types and assignments. An unlimited number of activity types can be created in Citizenserve. Each activity can have a specific form or custom fields and template outputs. A review activity can be completed and a template email sent to the contractor or other people involved in the project. Alerts can be set on parcels, applicants, and permits.

Citizenserve has robust and flexible Electronic Plan Review tools to enable professional, engineering-level reviews. Our review tools include tools to measure areas and linear distances and accurately scale drawings. The Electronic Plan Review tool supports electronic plan comments by adding notes, standard comments, highlights, measurements, and other annotations.

1.5.3. Describe the capability to track and log the location of one or multiple sets of archived hardcopy plans associated with a permit or project.

Citizenserve Response: We can create a custom field to track this information; all custom fields are available for search and reporting.

1.5.4. Describe the solution’s markup-up tool’s capabilities in detail.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve has robust and flexible document markup tools to enable professional, engineering-level reviews. The markup tool is fully integrated with your workflows and Citizenserve’s document management. Our review capabilities include tools to measure areas and linear distances and accurately scale drawings. The document markup tool supports electronic plan comments by adding notes, standard or custom comments, highlights, measurements, stamps, and other annotations.

Display the comments and annotations of all reviewers, or display individually by reviewer. You can also choose to show specific comments and marked-up plans to applicants in the online portal at any point in the review process, enabling applicants to start addressing issues immediately.

The markup tools also aid in code enforcement and inspection by enabling the mark up of photos to highlight trouble areas and add related comments and annotations.

Citizenserve Response: Below are links to video demonstrations of the markup tool:

https://www.citizenserve.com/building-permit-software/eplans-review-software-comments-and-markup-tool/

https://www.citizenserve.com/building-permit-software/citizenserve-document-markup-tool/

1.5.5. Describe the capability to track and review comments.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve’s markup tool enables comments to be entered and displayed by different users. A user can choose to only display his or her individual comments, or can select specific users, whose comments will then display.

Each department can setup their own review and inspection comments with different categories and features.  Comments can be inherited from higher level departments or the organization also.

1.5.6. Does the tool easily identify before and after corrections?

Citizenserve Response: The browser and device independent JavaScript tool set we use for the markup tool supports a side-by-side and overlay comparison.  This feature is being added to Citizenserve this year.  Bluebeam integration is also available and Bluebeam has side-by-side and overlay comparison features.

1.5.7. Does the solution store building code catalogs and easily incorporate them into plan markups or associated notes?

Citizenserve Response: Yes, and maintaining the building code catalogs is included in Citizenserve’s unlimited support. Common comments and corrections are available with the review activities and available directly in the markup tool.

1.5.8. Describe the solution’s copy and paste functions.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve is a browser-based application and supports all browser features such as copy and paste.  There are also handy features built in, such as the ability to copy comments from an inspection into a re-inspection for a checklist for that activity.

1.5.9. Provide a simple workflow diagram for the solution’s EPR process. The diagram should depict the end-to-end range of the EPR lifecycle from the plan application process, the uploading of drawings, pre-log process, fee payment, the plan review, building permit fees, the stamping and release of plans through the final plan download.

Citizenserve Response: The following is a detailed video demonstration of a planning and zoning implementation in Citizenserve.

https://www.citizenserve.com/permitting-software/online-planning-and-zoning-software/

1.5.10. Describe the EPR solution’s interdependencies and interaction with the greater application plan review process.

Citizenserve Response: EPR is built-in and integrated with Citizenserve, it is not a disjointed add-on feature.

1.5.11. Does the tool EPR solution support communications between the customers and the plan reviewer? Describe the process of alerting customers of plan status including red lines and unfinished permit applications.

Citizenserve Response: Yes, a plan review report can be sent out to the customer and the report and associated markups and comments can be viewed on the online portal in a list form and also on the plan documents.

1.5.12. Describe the solution’s capabilities for alerting plan reviewers, project managers, and other stakeholder’s status information. Describe the standard status reports or dashboard capabilities.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve’s flexible workflows can be configured to send automatic notifications when tasks are completed, due dates are approaching or have passed, etc. Inspectors are notified of inspections due and pending applications with required inspections. Notifications can be assigned for public notices and legal advertisements based on the hearing dates selected. Notifications can be in the form automated letters, emails, or both. Below is an example of a User Notifications and Assignments screen for the Permitting module.

Sample Citizenserve User Notifications and Assignments Configuration Screen (Permitting)

There are a variety of standard status reports, and Citizenserve’s unlimited support includes the development of an unlimited number of custom reports. Citizenserve provides multiple dashboards to enable your users to quickly obtain the information they need, and can configure other dashboards as part of our unlimited support. The user dashboards are flexible and configurable, and can be configured to meet the specific needs of individual users filling different roles. For example, an inspector may choose to configure a dashboard with a calendar showing inspections due, sorted by due date and priority, while a supervisor may choose to include information on past-due inspections and total inspections completed for the department on his or her individual dashboard.

Below is an example of a dashboard for an inspector, as viewed from his iPad:

1.5.13. Describe any file name or character limitations.

Citizenserve Response: Citizenserve uses contemporary internet technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript with an architectural and design goal of remaining browser and device independent.  Any file name or character limitations that exist in contemporary internet technologies will also apply to Citizenserve.  To date we have not experienced any issues from customers regarding these limitations.

1.5.14. Describe any unique feature functionality that sets your solution apart for the uploading of documents.

Citizenserve Response: Unlimited storage and submittal requirements can be defined in the application form and put in the relevant application sections.  Each submittal button or requirement can specify what document types are acceptable (PDF, JPG, etc.).  Submittal requirements can allow only one document or allow the uploading of multiple documents.  The document markup tool is available directly from the application forms with the submittals.  The document markup tool is built-in, device and browser independent, and available to all users.

Geographic Information System (GIS) Integration Q&A

The following questions were included in a formal Permitting and Land Management System Request for Information from a city of about 62,500 residents.  Read our responses below for more information about some of the features included in Citizenserve's e-government software solution.

1.7     Geographic Information Systems

1.7.1. Describe the solution’s integration capabilities with ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute)-based GIS systems and services.

Citizenserve Response: Most Citizenserve customers have ESRI GIS with various layers and property information.  Two-way integration using web services allows ESRI GIS information to be incorporated into Citizenserve.

1.7.2. Describe features offered, ESRI solutions and versions supported.

Citizenserve Response: Mapping features are built into the software.  Wherever the map pin is available users can click on the pin icon to see their permitting, licensing, and case files on a map.  Reports can also be rendered as a map rather than a table and the information included in each file can be easily customized.  Citizenserve uses the Google Map API and all features available through the Google API can be incorporated into the software.  Most Citizenserve customers also have ESRI GIS with various layers and property information.  Two-way integration using web services allows ESRI GIS information to be incorporated into Citizenserve.  This short demonstration video provides a general overview of features:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/mapping/

1.7.3. Describe how the system allows real time access to the GIS services and associated databases in order to query the latest address, parcel, zoning, neighborhood, and other relevant datasets?

Citizenserve Response: We will set up two-way integrations to the City’s GIS rather than accessing the data downloads the City provides on its redmond.gov website, since the City is requesting real time access. We will use web services for the integration.

1.7.5. Describe the solution’s capabilities to provide geographically based analysis, data, and reports.

Citizenserve Response: Mapping features are built into the software.  Wherever the map pin is available users can click on the pin icon to see their permitting, licensing, and case files on a map.  Reports can also be rendered as a map rather than a table and the information included in each file can be easily customized.  Citizenserve uses the Google Map API and all features available through the Google API can be incorporated into the software.  Most Citizenserve customers also have ESRI GIS with various layers and property information.  Two-way integration using web services allows ESRI GIS information to be incorporated into Citizenserve.

Any of the data available from the Google Map API and/or the City’s ESRI GIS are available for reporting and analysis.

This short demonstration video provides a general overview of features:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/mapping/

1.7.6. Describe the solution’s integration capabilities to provide an interactive mapping component with the ability to create custom queries and reports.

Citizenserve Response: The end user reporting tool that is built into the software allows end users to create tabular reports, map reports, and merge reports that merge a list with a template like an expired permit notice.  Using HTML, the reports can be interactive with drill-down capabilities, etc.  The creation of unlimited custom reports is included in the Citizenserve subscription, and any user can request a report at any time and our support team will create the report definition and put it in the user’s reporting folders.  This video demonstration provides a short overview of reporting features in Citizenserve:

https://www.citizenserve.com/portfolio-view/reporting/

Electronic Planning and Zoning Software

In depth demonstration of Citizenserve's planning & zoning module.

  • Register for Portal Account (02:00)
  • Submit Development Application (04:31)
  • Review Submitted Application from Portal (16:10)
  • Review Portal Reports (20:03)
  • Review Staff Side Dash Board/Home Page (21:45)
  • Review Task List on Map (23:35)
  • Proximity Report/Abutter Notice Report/GIS Layers (25:07)
  • Administrative/Configuration Access – Modify Letter Template (28:30)
  • Review Submitted Permit Application (32:57)
  • Review Routes (33:58)
  • Create Permit Project Over the Counter (34:36)
  • User Notifications and Assignments Administration (40:13)
  • Perform Engineering Plan Review (42:45)
  • Add Comments from Common Comments Book (43:18)
  • Document Markup Tool (45:43)
  • Email Review Comments (56:18)
  • Question: Can Developer Add Site Plan or Final Plan to Existing Project? (59:58)
    • Review Project with Multiple Applications (1:03:52)
    • overview of complicated review routes for multi-phase development project (1:04:25)
  • Question: how does system allow us to report out to external body? (1:05:24)
  • Question: can Citizenserve generate staff report level document? (1:07:20)
  • Review development application fees (1:09:32)
  • Tracking hours in Citizenserve (1:11:58)