NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington have partnered to come up with a permitting software called COAST.
COAST stands for Customer Online Application and Services Tool. The tool provides customers with better access to information when it comes to permits.
“In the past, everyone would have had to come, drop off plans, fill out paper permits, applications for permits and then wait, pay here and go home,” said Leslie Chaney, the Chief Information Officer for the Information Technology Department with New Hanover County. "Maybe even make more than one trip here. Now they can do all of that online from the initial application for a permit, to getting all their comments and plan reviews, submitting all their plans online, and even making payment and printing their permits right from the coast portal.”
The purpose of COAST is to save time for the customer and development teams. The first phase of COAST launched in February 2019 and it includes:
- All commercial and residential building processes
- Trade permits
- New commercial and residential site processes
- Rezoning and subdivision permits and appeals
- Engineering processes
“It could be something as simple as a homeowner who is getting a new heating and air system and we have something called a change out," said Chaney. "You can go online and say ‘I’m changing out my heating and air system’ and apply for that permit online. Your contractor can do that for you also which makes it easier for him. We have everything from that to the online new residential construction, you’re building a home from scratch and at the highest level, new commercial construction.”
So far, COAST has been successful and has an award for its focus on the customer.
“We’re getting through the work a lot faster," said Chaney. "Our customers are seeing fast turnaround times and we actually have the ability now to more closely monitor that as management and make sure that customer’s expectations are being met as regards to the delivery of their permits.”
COAST is just an option. Customers can still visit the NHC Government Center to do all of their permit work if they prefer human interaction.
COAST works on desktops and on mobile devices. To learn more about COAST and to access the portal, click here.