San Jose building permits online

Residents of San Jose, Calif., can now complete building permit applications online, including paying with a credit card and printing permits from the Internet.

It's the first program in the state to use digital signatures to verify documents since the process became legal in California at the start of the year.

Contractors and homeowners can log onto www.sjpermits.com to complete 22 building permits that do not need a technical review. The city's Building Division issues more than 15,000 of those permits yearly. The most common include roofing, piping and water heater replacements.

By allowing the permits to be submitted online, the city saves on administrative costs, and the process is made easier for citizens, said Scott Troyer, the permit center manager for the Building Division.

The site, launched May 12, requires that applicants have an e-mail address, a major credit card, a Web browser, an Internet form viewer plug-in that is available for free, a digital signature and a printer.

Once an application is completed, the applicant sends it to the city, which verifies certain information such as the address, the owner, whether the contractor has a business license, whether the property is in the historic database and the credit card information.

If everything checks out, the applicant can print the application. Applicants can also mail it to the city if they are unwilling to get a digital signature identification, which can be used to verify the sender.

The permit process is part of a larger project that will allow development permits to be processed online.

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