New online tool to improve exasperating permit process

The Boston Globe | By Dan Adams
September 25, 2015


After years of complaints, the Walsh administration is promising to improve a notoriously painful city process: getting a permit.

City Hall will launch a permitting website next month, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Thursday, making it easier for residents and businesses to win permission for renovations and other projects.

Walsh announced the website in a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

The new system is a welcome step for homeowners and small-business owners, who have long griped that the city’s approval process — even for such seemingly simple jobs as adding a deck in the back yard — is confusing, maddeningly slow, and scattered among umpteen agencies.

“It will make permitting quicker and easier,” Walsh told business leaders Thursday. “At long last, Boston has a modern, online permitting experience . . . that supports new ideas rather than pushing them away.”

Officials said the initiative is part of a broader push by the Walsh administration to make it easier for residents and companies to do business with City Hall.

Last year, for example, the city set up a separate panel to approve minor zoning variances, so homeowners and small-business owners would not have to wait in line behind major developers. More recently, Boston debuted a site at which residents can get moving van parking permits online instead of waiting in line at City Hall.

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