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Six Cuyahoga County suburbs to streamline code enforcement, permitting

August 21, 2018

Six Cuyahoga County suburbs to streamline code enforcement, permitting

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Six inner-ring suburbs in Cuyahoga County are streamlining their code enforcement and permitting processes to save time and money, share information more easily, and help identify solutions to regional housing issues.

The county’s Board of Control on Monday approved a one-time $200,000 grant to the First Suburbs Consortium to help launch a code enforcement pilot program that will serve Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, Parma, Shaker Heights, South Euclid and University Heights.

The cloud-based program is estimated to save the six communities nearly $400,000 a year in overtime, personnel, and office supply costs. And because the six cities banded together to purchase the program, each are saving about one-third of the costs they would have paid had they sought out the technology independently, First Suburbs Consortium Director Jennifer Kuzma said.

Streamlining code enforcement and permitting has been a high priority for the Consortium, which represents 19 inner-ring cities and focuses, among other things, on suburban housing needs.

“This is something our code enforcement and housing directors have been talking about for four years, so it was at the top of our wish-list,” Kuzma said.

Code inspectors who previously used clipboards and pens to complete reports will now be able to generate them automatically and forward them to property owners in a fraction of the time.

Planning and economic development departments will be able to more easily track progress of building approvals for new businesses, and contractors will be able to complete annual registration requirements across several cities at once, Kuzma said.

Rental registrations also will move online, so landlords will be able to digitally renew property registrations, apply for permits, and see how those projects are progressing through the review process.

City workers will no longer assemble monthly permit reports for county appraisers. Those reports will be shared electronically in near-real time, a news release said.

Kuzma also hopes that the program will allow suburbs to spot troubling housing trends and identify possible solutions. For example, Kuzma said communities have noticed an uptick in window code violations — analyzing those trends across cities could lead local officials to seeks solutions through private businesses or government programs.

“It shows cities the potential of ways we can come together to maximize the benefits for everyone,” Kuzma said.

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