City unveils "one-stop shop" for permits

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The three-word phrase has been tossed around City Hall for more than a year as the user-friendly answer for business owners to have access to all they'll need as they navigate permitting bureaucracy.

It was supposed to roll out by fall 2012, yet it remained to be seen whether it would surface in 2013. Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office of cultural economy released a draft of "Permits and Licenses for Cultural Businesses: A Basic Guide" late last year, a sort of prelude to a "one-stop shop." Today, Landrieu announced a website, a beta mobile app, and a physical office opening inside City Hall to function as a "One Stop Shop to improve and streamline the customer experience related to securing permits and licenses." The departments sharing the space include the City Planning Commission, Historic Districts Landmarks Commission, Safety & Permits and Vieux Carre Commission (VCC), and will be moved in "by the end of the week" with a formal ribbon cutting next month. The space is room 7W303 on the seventh floor of City Hall.

From the press release:

This physical site enhances the customer experience by providing an easier, single point of entry for applicants and by improving the review process through cross-departmental collaboration. Permitting and licensing agencies that remain offsite will be able to receive, review, and process applications using a recently introduced enterprise system, and with the benefit of new, updated digital zoning information. The application for other permits and licenses, including occupational licenses and mayoralty permits from the Bureau of Revenue, will also start in the One Stop Shop.

The VCC will be available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and a VCC staff member will host office hours at the Royal Street location for "drop-ins and general questions," but not as an application drop-off point.

By the end of summer 2013, the one-stop shop will also include the following:

Front line permit and licensing intake staff who regularly participate in customer service and cross-departmental training to ensure service level standards; The ability to start, track and pay fees for business, and special event related permit and license applications remotely through nola.gov/onestop; Acceptance of major credit cards (Visa [online only], Master Card, Discover) as payment methods for permits and licenses; Online access to accurate zoning and conditional use maps that will foster economic development, by providing accurate information to the public regarding allowed uses on properties including approved conditional uses; Redesigned permit and license applications that provide clear and concise information regarding submission requirements, formatted to reflect key process changes; Analysis of regularly conducted customer surveys used to guide improvements to the permitting and licensing processes; and consolidation of permit and license types to simplify the applicant experience along with comprehensive permit and licensing guides for applicants (throughout 2013).

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