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Boston expands online-based process of getting permits

Boston has expanded its online permit application website, adding a new permit-finding tool and several Fire Department permit applications, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Tuesday.

The additions to the site are intended to cut down on backlogs and inconvenience for applicants.

“This is about making the process more clear and easy,” Walsh said in a statement.

The new tool, called Permit Finder, was developed from a prototype that was created at the first annual HubHacks civic hackathon in August, where Walsh invited competitors to find solutions to the biggest problem areas in the application process, officials said.

The tool will allow residents, contractors, and the general public to check the status of submitted applications, and will provide information on future steps, list the staff responsible for each portion of the process, and provide timelines for each step.


Walsh’s office has added the most commonly applied-for Fire Department permits and licenses to the online platform, such as fire alarm installation permits. Previously, applicants had to go to 1010 Massachusetts Ave. to apply. There are now 19 online permit applications.

“This is an important step toward modernizing our department and making our services more accessible,” Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn said in the statement.

Boston issues approximately 86,000 permits annually, and has 60 different applications.

The city has issued 12,500 more permits this year than last, an increase of 21 percent. Additionally, on-time permit issuance is up, and appeal dates are scheduled, on average, within two months — down from five.

Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com.