ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration wants the Municipality of Anchorage to be a business-friendly city that attracts investment and develops jobs and housing.
Office of Economic and Community Development Director Adam Trombley said that for many years the permitting process in Anchorage has not been exactly user-friendly and, in some ways, outdated.
“It was very heavy, very process-driven, very 1980s, almost, get down, go the way…it’s just not the way we should be doing business in the 21st century,” Trombley said. .
He said that since July, his department has been tasked by the mayor with making the permitting process more modern and user-friendly in a way that is quick, efficient and easy to do.
“When we arrived I sat down with user groups from the department and said, ‘Hey, we have all these computer systems, is it possible to integrate them so that, like me, I can lay in my bed at two in the morning and order beard oil on Amazon, ‘right? And I can track this command. Can we do this with our developer permission system? said Trombley.
He said that in this moment his team has made a lot of progress. They have developed one-stop-shops by creating a portal for property summary reports, so people can look up historical data on a project and improve the reduction of foot traffic coming through the door.
“You can pick up your license, pay for your license and acquire your license online. You never even have to walk in the front door,” Trombley said.
Now they are working to improve the plan submission process, which Assemblyman John Weddleton has had his own struggles with.
“You walk in there and you have four equally big scrolls under your arms when you walked in there. You introduce them and they stamp the pages as you go,” Weddleton said. “It was mind-boggling to think that at that time we were doing what they did when they built the pyramids.”
Weddleton said it was also common for plans to be lost during inter-office transfers. In the coming months, Trombley and his team hope the process will be improved and streamlined.
“Let’s say you’re doing a construction project. You can submit everything online, and then you can come in and you can track where it is, what department it is, what comments each department is making, and then you can respond to those comments online,” Trombley said.
Weddleton thinks the new system, in the long run, will save the municipality money and attract more investment.
“I’m sure it will. It’s just more efficient, than the driving force of our world: to become more efficient,” Weddleton said.
Trombley said system upgrades are being paid for with ARPA funds, and he hopes to have the full system up and running by late April or early May.
Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.