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College Park upgrades zoning, variance process

By Mehgaan Jones

mjones@news-daily.com

The City of College Park has added a new service to its web site, which promises modernization, and a move toward a paperless process, according to Gerald Walker, public information officer for College Park.

The ZoneTheUS software enables developers, business owners, and investors, to access planning and zoning information, and submit applications to the city in an interactive format -- via www.collegeparkga.com -- Walker said in a news release.

"The automated application software, which allows applicants to access a wide range of information [online], will free up time spent in answering routine applicant questions," said Bill Johnston, of Strategic Planning Initiatives, LLC, College Park's city planner.

According to Walker, when developers create site plans, maps and other data for potential projects, the uploaded documents can be instantly reviewed by Business Development, Planning and Zoning, and other municipal departments involved in the application process.

"This software and [web site] will also allow residents to be better informed about zoning and land-use matters throughout College Park," Johnston said.

He added that the software will enhance College Park's competitive edge when it comes to attracting quality projects. Walker explained that another important benefit of ZoneTheUS is the municipality's ability to schedule and notify developers about zoning meetings via e-mail.

He added that the main benefit is to the user. An application process allows users to perform a variety of functions, including signing up as a contractor, filling out applications, and printing quality plats, maps, and other plans.

"A simple click of the mouse enables printing of scaled maps from the home or office computer," Walker said. "Advanced features offer remote printing at registered print shops."

According to Walker, ZoneTheUS allows logged-in users access to maps containing property information and other data. Site plans can be uploaded for examination by municipal officials. Permits, licenses and other cost-related items can be resolved online. He added that an online bill-pay function is planned for future use.

"This software comes along at the right time, as we continually update our technology capabilities," said College Park City Manager William E. Johnson, III. "I believe the ZoneTheUS software product will make our processes seamless, therefore making our planning and zoning more attractive to current and prospective developers."