• Posted On: December 16, 2014

One of the most important issues a city government has to deal with on a daily basis is related to zoning. The speed and efficiency at which they can address these issues can determine a community’s potential.

Property zoning issues come in many shapes and sizes. The typical zoning issue that most departments face on a regular basis has to do with land use. How a piece of property is zoned has a direct correlation to the safety, welfare and health of the public, economically as well as physically. The goal is not to limit a community’s potential, but to keep everything running smooth and safely. Imagine how upset community members in a residential area would be if you allowed a cement plant to be established in the middle of their neighborhood. A zoning department doing its job isn’t out to sink the cement company, they’re protecting the integrity of the existing residential neighborhood.

Zoning officials also handle non-conforming use issues. This occurs when a property at one time complied with the existing rules and regulations, but now does not. Sometimes “grandfathering” them in and allowing them to continue can address these issues. As a community grows, this can become a more prevalent issue that has to be handled with delicacy yet quickly.

Property zoning also requires the use of exceptions, on occasion. You might be familiar with the term variance, which allows an entity to side step a zoning ordinance. This occurs in many different situations, but it’s usually something that happens as a result of an unnecessary hardship should the property owner be required to follow the zoning ordinances. For instance, allowing a property owner to build a structure that doesn’t follow code because the topography of the land is exceptional would be an example of when you would allow for a variance.

Obviously, there are any number of situations that require the expertise of the city property zoning department, but the speed at which they can complete their jobs is often hindered by a lack of modern technology. Arriving on site with a clipboard and a thick stack of paperwork in front of them, zoning officers painstakingly go through the pages, making notes for a report they’ll fill out later and manually drop off to the appropriate people at city hall or the county courthouse.

Taking advantage of the digital age, zoning departments can go mobile and leave behind the clipboard and reams of paper. Everything from GIS to cameras can now be integrated into mobile solutions that allow for greater efficiency, more transparency and quicker action when it comes to tackling zoning cases. Instead of keeping businesses waiting months on end before they can open their doors, zoning inspectors can get permits to the people who need them, and the community can benefit.

Comcate, a company that operates under the philosophy that government can run more efficiently, has created software for property zoning departments that allows them to address zoning issues quicker, more efficiently and with greater impact to the community. Reports can easily be filed from the field – no paperwork required. All the information will go to the people who need it and never get lost in the shuffle. To address you zoning issues faster, contact us today.

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