The city IT department plans a hackathon next month to let developers use a new gateway into city systems to build an online permitting system that might replace the current confusing system that often forces people who want to set up a restaurant or add a porch to their homes to spend months battling paperwork and bureaucracy - and sometimes make trips to offices miles apart.
HubHacks will be held Aug. 9 and 10 at District Hall, in the heart of the Innovation District.
Individual residents, business owners, and contractors file nearly 100,000 applications annually for any of more than 40 different permits that the City issues through its citywide permitting software system. In his first six months in office, Mayor Walsh tasked his administration with comprehensively improve the permitting process, streamlining the underlying business processes, providing more transparency, and offering a higher-level of customer service. ...
At HubHacks a new application programming interface (API) will be unveiled, which will allow Boston’s tech community the ability to create custom applications that feed directly into the City’s permitting system. Participants in the event will take on one of four challenges, each of which represents current pain points in the permitting process.
Specifically, hackers will be able to tackle:
- Which Permits Do I Need?
- What’s My Address of Record? Every project needs to be linked to an address in the City’s master database. In the current system, finding your address is more difficult than it should be. The City’s new online system needs a clear way to search addresses and suggest alternatives, getting it right the first time.
- Can I Apply for That Permit Online? Developers will be challenged to provide a very practical solution using the City’s new API to create a simple online and/or mobile application for Street Occupancy permits required to block space for a moving truck.
- Where Am I in the Approval Process?
Ed. note: After having spent several years covering licensing-board hearings, probably the single stupidest thing I've seen has been the procession of immigrants cited by police for not having food-serving licenses - they knew enough to go to ISD down in Newmarket Square for their health and occupancy permits, but ISD for years refused to tell these people they also needed a separate license from the licensing board in City Hall.