Sanibel Going Online With Permits

by SC Reporter Reese Holiday

Sanibel announced that starting August 9, the city will transition to an online system for permits and licenses, leaving paper applications behind.

The system, which can be accessed here, will be used for building, planning and vegetation permits, business tax receipts, as well as registrations and contractors licenses.

Steve Chaipel, the city’s finance director, said the applications, as well as the permits and licenses themselves, were all previously completed through paperwork and provided less efficiency then their new online system.

“They’re literally stuffed in envelopes manually and sent out,” Chaipel said about the previous permit system. “We’re going to add capabilities where we can email those out, so just efficiency is the number one aspect of this.”

While the submission of documents to the system won’t be accepted until Monday, Chaipel said registration for access to the site is now open.

Chaipel also explained that those just looking for information on specific permits and licenses can find it within the system as well.

“We’re going to have a section where it’s completely searchable so you can just go on there and type in an address or a project that you want, and you can get information about that too,” Chaipel said.

During the pandemic, the application process for permits and licenses was still done manually with paperwork, Chaipel explained. He said some things were sent electronically, but the city’s process was still very much paper based.

With that, paper permits were still being sent out by the city despite restrictions caused by the pandemic. However, things like the renewal of beach parking permits, were hard to come by.

To fix this, Chaipel said the city is planning to add things like beach parking permits to the new system in the future, but logistics are still being worked out.

“Those require an actual physical sticker,” Chaipel said about access to beach parking passes. “It’s different then a permit. With the online permitting system, for example you get a building permit, you’ll actually get the permit itself emailed so you can have a PDF, electronic copy of that.”

Chaipel explained that this new system has been a work in progress for about four years now, and new additions are still being worked through. With that, the system will evolve and change as new processes for permits and licenses are worked out.

But regardless of this future change, the city is hoping this new school system will provide more efficiency and less problems than that of the paper-based, old school style.

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