LCF Set to Take Digital Requests for Permits

Starting Oct. 1, the city of La Cañada Flintridge will no longer accept paper applications for permits and planning applications.
In gearing up for the official launch of Connect LCF, a new platform created to digitize processing, an introductory soft launch will begin on Monday, Sept. 24, at City Hall with two kiosk stations.
“I expect we’ll have people come in with paper plans,” said Arabo Parseghian, a division manager with the city’s administrative department. “That’s fine you brought those in, now we have to teach you how to use it.”
The platform for residents, homeowners, business owners and others will allow applicants to pay with a credit card, Parseghian said.
“This is our new permit, planning, inspection, code enforcement and service module,” Parseghian told the City Council on Tuesday night.
Parseghian said he and other officials will be present during the week of Sept. 24 to help people use the kiosks and answer their questions.
“We’ll have staff walk them through the system,” Parseghian said.
Connect LCF will become available online — say, from home or office — on Oct. 1.
Parseghian recommended that people register for the system so they can look for any documents they need or even check on which neighbor is performing construction.
Councilman Jonathan Curtis said the system will not immediately include archived permits, but they will come later.
Parseghian said staff members have been trained on the system during an eight-month period and he and Deputy Director of Community Development Susan Koleda have been developing the system for two years. The city budgeted $285,000 for the project, including $65,000 for the licensing and $220,000 for the implementation.
“This is fantastic,” Curtis said. “I know how much time and effort went into it also.”
Additionally, there will be a video tutorial online and available by Sept. 23, Parseghian said. The city had asked for both paper and digital documents for the last three to five years, he noted.
Three public demonstrations of the system were held at City Hall in September; the last was on Tuesday.
City officials asked contractors, architects, project managers and the public to attend any of the three dates (Sept. 6, 17 and 18) to learn key features and become familiar with the system before it goes live.
Users create a login to access a personal dashboard to view or submit planning applications, permits with the city, process checks and more, Parseghian said.
In addition, users can instantly respond to permits that require attention — such as unpaid fees — check zoning information per parcel and search a parcel for aggregate records.
Alonso Acosta Jr., a field manager for Acosta & Sons Sewer Contractors, said after the meeting he thought there would be a learning curve but he will be in favor of the system if it makes things easier.
“I think there’ll be issues with people getting their information digitally and uploading it, but we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it,” said Acosta, whose father started the Sun Valley company in the 1970s. Most of the company’s work has been in LCF, he said.
Acosta said he likes to do business in person with city officials and will miss that, but he’ll adjust and look at the video tutorials.
Bernardo Montoya, Acosta’s brother-in-law and the company’s general foreman, reflected on going from personally dealing with inspectors, in many cases, to dealing with a computer.
“It’s funny, because before you’d have to pay by check,” Montoya said. “This is like the city of Mayberry going way into the future.”
On Tuesday night, Councilman Gregory Brown said the council should consider dedicating a portion of a future meeting to show residents how the new system works. “It’s going to be very helpful,” he said.
Mayor Terry Walker added that the council could also consider having a special meeting at a larger venue to showcase it.

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