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Islip Web-based building permit system starts

The Town of Islip has rolled out its new, Web-based building permit system, designed to streamline and standardize the process while decreasing errors and wait times.

Town officials began in May using the system, Permit Net Version 3, which allows Department of Planning employees to access a database of building permit applications.

Since then, officials said, the time it takes to get a permit after filing an application has decreased by 16 days from the 2011 average. The time from application to certificate of occupancy has decreased by 110 days.

"We have saved the town hundreds of thousands of dollars while improving your government," said Councilman Anthony S. Senft Jr., who oversaw the project.

The computerized system replaces a paper one, which officials said could sometimes result in longer processing turnaround.

A part-time town employee, who works as a computer programmer, spent 500 hours creating the project, to the tune of $10,000, officials said. The town also purchased seven wireless laptops for about $2,000 each.

The inspectors will also have mobile printers. The laptops and printers will let them access the system remotely, input information in real-time and print forms for building owners and contractors. More than 20 employees have been trained on the system, officials said.

Senft said he hopes in the coming months to offer public access to the system, which would allow applicants to check the status of their applications.

Clara Datre, president of the Long Island Builders Institute, said the system seemed to answer to long-held concerns about the inefficiency of the building permit process.

"It eliminates a lot of the unnecessary paper trail," Datre said.

Senft said it made sense to create the system during a relative lull in the number of building permit requests due to the weak economy.

"When our economy swings back -- and it will -- we'll be ready," Senft said.

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