Planning for the Future
Redmond, Washington, is located in the Pacific Northwest/Puget Sound region of the United States. With big skies and beautiful weather, outdoor activities and recreational opportunities are the norm. Therefore, it’s no mystery that the same industry-forward community that plays host to companies like Microsoft, Honeywell, Nintendo, and AT&T would also be environmentally conscious while planning for their future.
- Industry: Local Government
- Years as a Tyler Client: 2
- Population: 55,000
- Tyler Products Used: EnerGov
- Had outdated system with difficulty managing planning, inspecting, and permitting processes
- Needed technology platform to expand services in future
- Needed more efficient ways to manage permitting, zoning, and data integrity in regard to protecting natural resources, maintaining zoning, and establishing greater data integrity
- Protected drinking water source due to more efficient permitting process using EnerGov’s Planning, Permitting, and Licensing modules integrated with Esri® ArcGIS
- More efficient and accurate permitting and zoning processes based on zoning guidelines and integration of EnerGov’s GeoRules Agent
- More efficient workflow for field inspectors using mobile devices
- Central commercial/residential address database established based on EnerGov’s ArcGIS technology
- Technology platform on which to build future applications
Now when a search is conducted, the system can return information based on a single point or a parcel such as a street. That’s the power of ArcGIS. It created address visibility and more accurate permitting.
Senior Systems Analyst
Permitting and Protecting Water Resources
The City of Redmond, Washington, sits atop an aquifer and has established a Wellhead Protection Zone within the city — land protected in order to provide safe drinking water. With no layer of material to barricade against potentially harmful substances that could filter into the aquifer, and because water sources are so near the surface — sometimes as little as five feet — the city has had to show great caution in permitting new developments that may adversely affect water quality.
Since specialized staff must handle reviews on permit applications pertaining to the aquifer, it is imperative that they only be called on when their services are required. Therefore, the City of Redmond established geographic business rules to be executed within EnerGov using the GeoRule agent to help monitor new permit applications. If applications include elements that compromise the safety of the wellheads or water system, the city is alerted and the permit application is likely rejected. Examples might include locations too close to a wellhead, developments involving large quantities of chemicals, or objects that require digging like elevator shafts. Using the same technology and techniques, they have also established rules for property development zoning.
Zoning & Inspecting Using the GeoRules Agent
Redmond’s Comprehensive Plan Designation is managed similarly to the permitting process. Geographic business rules, based on zoning guidelines, were established based on a master plan detailing what kinds of development projects can be established within certain regions. When permits are filed, the GeoRules agent triggers the acceptance or rejection of permits.
Inspection requests can be received at the city offices via EnerGov’s automated telephone system or web-based portal. The 130-150 daily inspection requests remain in a queue until midnight when zoning is properly identified for each inspection and they are automatically assigned to 25 field inspectors based on geographic location and specialty. Each inspector’s field assignments and workflow are then immediately established and available on their mobile device the next morning.
Master Address Repository
Redmond’s most recent project has been the establishment of their Master Address Repository. Before its development, disparate systems stored their own sets of address information.
“Redundancy was a problem. We wanted to consolidate those addresses into one central GIS repository and hook all of our other systems into it,” said Carole Stewart, senior systems analyst for the City of Redmond. “It took a huge level of cross-divisional commitment to make it happen.”
Residential addresses were well established, but commercial addresses were not because they are more fluid. With multiple suites or apartments in residential or commercial developments, a one-to-many relationship exists with address points which makes them more difficult to track.
Taking a creative approach, light-duty fire and police personnel were used by the City of Redmond to walk the streets and gather the address data needed.
Once entered, “this allowed us a much greater level of confidence that data was accurate,” Stewart commented. “Now when a search is conducted, the system can return information based on a single point or a parcel such as a street. That’s the power of ArcGIS. It created address visibility and more accurate permitting.”
Not only that, but mechanisms are now in place for city staff to report observed problems as they are working around the city, so data quality is always high. The system is also programmed to compensate for discrepancies in information such as missing addresses, errors, or land use changes.
Stewart credits Rob Odle, Planning Director and Executive Project Sponsor, for his vision and the successful EnerGov implementation.
“He was supportive from the beginning,” she said. “He and the mayor were instrumental in replacing our technology. They realized we needed the foundation for future application development.”
Going forward, the City of Redmond realizes they are only starting to reap the rewards of efficiency and data efficacy. They knew that the tremendous effort expended up front would be worth it in years to come.
Stewart commented, “We spent two years establishing our Master Address Repository. From a technical and strategic perspective, it was one of our most significant accomplishments.”
That’s recognizing a great opportunity, and that’s the power of Esri technology.
MS Dynamics AX Integration
While enjoying EnerGov’s efficiencies, their system still continued to collect permit fees which were being spread across disparate general ledger accounts. Needing a way to merge the systems, yet allow accurate and dynamic reporting capabilities, the City of Redmond decided to integrate Microsoft Dynamics AX. With public sector functionality developed jointly by Microsoft and Tyler, Microsoft Dynamics AX coalesced the different systems and Redmond now experiences accurately tracked split funds, supported audits and comprehensive daily reporting. Stewart commented that EnerGov and city staff worked together successfully to help the systems communicate with one another.
“It’s turned out to be a successful feature of the system,” she said.