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Brentwood Planning and Codes Department implements new online features

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The Brentwood Planning and Codes Department is now using a new GIS based integrated local government software solution called “LAMA,” which is an acronym for LAnd MAnagement.  

The Davenport Group offers the software suite which includes online permitting, licensing, planning and code enforcement programs, as well as a citizen portal, for a total first year implementation/start-up cost of $111,523. The former software system, TrakIT, had been used by staff for the past nearly 17 years and was $240,000 at the time of purchase.

The effort to migrate to a new software began with the desire to enhance the services offered to city customers.

“It was important that the new system provide online permitting and electronic plan submittal and review,” Brentwood Planning and Codes Director Jeff Dobson said. “With the implementation of electronic plan review, the amount of paper flowing through our offices will be greatly reduced.”  

Additionally, Dobson said the new software will streamline the permitting and inspection processes and will soon include online credit card payments.

The citizen portal will provide applicants the ability to track the progress of their plan/permit review from initial submittal to final inspection. Dobson said the citizen portal will be interactive and was a must-have on their list. 

“Staff spent a great deal of time researching program alternatives, meeting with consultants and attending web demonstrations used to design the scope of the project. It was decided that the LAMA suite of modules best fit the city’s established permitting process,” Dobson said.

This new system will also help with the current social distancing plans in place due to COVID-19.  

“LAMA is enabling our employees to work remotely in order to maintain productivity and provide for continuous applications,” Dobson said. “There are several ways to enable remote work by using our system. By allowing residents to apply for permits from home or on their smart phones, we eliminate unnecessary in-person contact. Staff and inspectors can use online workspaces to view and complete reviews and inspections over home internet. Staff can then complete inspections in the field and upload photos without meeting other staff and while maintaining distance from the public.

“The LAMA App allows inspectors to create smart routes for inspections, and view violations and permits in their area through an interactive map.”

A training session with the building community is planned later this fall. Builders and contractors will learn an overview of the software, how to use it and its best features.  

For now, training materials including web-based videos and “how to” brochures, which are intended to provide citizens and builders with information regarding the various aspects of obtaining a building permit are available on the city’s planning and codes website here.

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