Chapter 8: Create New Zoning Relief Permit
There are two types of Zoning Permits – Zoning Standard Permits and Zoning Relief Permits. Zoning Standard Permits, referred to within BluePrince as simply “Zoning Permits”, are used for typical Zoning review of community development. Zoning Relief Permits are used for special exception review, when community development is requesting a deviation from the standards.
BluePrince tracks and processes Zoning Relief as if it were a specialized Zoning Permit because the two have very similar data entry needs. The main differences between the two Permit Types are that the Relief Permit does not have Pre-Issue approvals, Inspections, Valuation, and limited Fee Calculations. See Chapter 7: Create New Zoning Standard Permit for details on creating a Zoning Standard Permit.
There are two ways you can create a new Zoning Relief Permit:
1. From the Permits tab on the Project form, click the New button. You are given the choice of creating a Zoning (Standard) Permit or Zoning Relief. Choose Zoning Relief. The project's current step must be the one defined for the Zoning Department. This is the only step that allows Zoning Relief Permits to be created. When created this way, the New Zoning Relief form is pre-populated for you with the Project Name.
2. From the BluePrince Main Tool Bar click on New Permit. A Sidebar menu opens with Zoning and Zoning Relief buttons. Click the Zoning Relief button. When created this way, the first step on the New Zoning Relief form is to assign a project. You may only assign a project whose current step is the one defined for the Zoning Department.
Using either of these methods will open the New Zoning Relief form for generation of a new Zoning Relief Permit (see Figure 80).
Figure 80 - Zoning Relief Permit Form
All required fields on the New Zoning Relief form are purple and underlined. The Page tabs that contain required fields are identified in the same way to give you a "heads up" that data is required on a Tab.
Checking off Group Boxes
Data is organized in group boxes on each of the forms in BluePrince. A group box is recognized by an indented line surrounding related data fields. Examples on the New Zoning Relief form include Project, Origin, Properties, and Relief Categories.
On the New Zoning Relief form the group boxes are designed so that BluePrince can fetch data and populate subsequent group boxes using the data you enter. This can save lots of time, but to make it work, BluePrince must force you to enter data in top down order. You can only enter data in one group box at a time and you cannot jump ahead. So, most of the data entry fields are initially gray and not editable. Only the current group box has editable fields.
Each group box, such as the Project group box, contains a check box in the lower or upper right hand corner. Check it when you are finished with data entry for the group box and you are ready to move on to the next group box. This also tells BluePrince you are done with the group so it can go ahead and populate subsequent group boxes using the data you entered. If any Required Field is blank when you attempt to check a check box, BluePrince displays a message indicating the problem and then highlights the missing field.
If you un-check a check box it will wipe out the values you entered in that group box as well as any other group box that contained dependent data. The check boxes in those group boxes are automatically unchecked for you. Re-enter the data you want and continue on as before. You will automatically jump over any Group that was unaffected.
Data Entry Steps
New Zoning Relief data entry is discussed in this chapter’s sections 'Assign or Create a Project' to 'Apply'. The remaining sections discuss Zoning Relief Permit activities that arise after a Zoning Relief Permit has been created.
Assign or Create Project
To create or assign a project, enter the Project Name or ID and click the Assign button. This opens the Assign Project form. Rather than type in the full name, you can enter a partial name and the wild card character (*). If the project does not exist you can click New to create one. If the project does exist, select the row you want and click Use. You may still create a New project even if BluePrince found matching projects. Once you either create a New project or select an existing one, you are returned to the Zoning Relief form with the Project Name filled in for you. Check the Project check box to continue to the Origin group box.
Hint: BluePrince only allows you to assign existing projects where the current step is the one defined for the Zoning Department. If a project is currently on a prior step that means the project has not met all of the requirements (addresses, approvals or fees) needed for you to accept a zoning relief application. If you create a new project, it cannot be assigned to the relief permit unless its first step is the one defined for the Zoning Department.
There are three fields you have to specify in the Origin group box: Relief Type, Origin and Applicant. The Relief Type dropdown contains all the configured Zoning Relief Permit Types. Select the appropriate zoning relief type you need. The Origin dropdown contains all of the configured origins or reasons for requesting zoning relief. Select the appropriate origin for the circumstances. The Applicant is pre-populated for you with the project Contractor. You can delete the name and assign a different Applicant as needed. Once you have selected a value for each of these, check the Origin check box to continue to the Properties Tab.
Properties that already exist on the project are automatically added to the Zoning Relief Permit for you. If any of these are not applicable to the Zoning Relief Permit you can remove them. Select the property you wish to remove and click the Remove button.
To add a new Property to the relief permit enter the address, GIS ID, PIN or Location you want to find and click the Assign button. Select the Property you want from the Assign Property form and click the Use button. You are returned to the Zoning Relief form and the selected property is in the Properties table.
Hint: Zoning Districts must be the same for all the properties you assign to the relief permit. If the Zoning Districts differ, you will not be allowed to assign the property. If this happens find the property again using the Assign button to open the Assign Property form. Select the property you want and click Details. This opens the Property Form. Click Edit Mode and then click on the Zoning tab. Add or Remove Zoning Districts appropriately and click Save and Close. Back on the Assign Property form, click the Use button to assign the corrected property to the Zoning Relief Permit. Once you have specified all the properties, select a Primary Zoning District from the dropdown provided. Check the Properties check box to continue to the Regulations Tab.
The Regulations tab is used to add reference data to the Zoning Relief application. The reference data may be all of the Specifications defined for a particular Zoning Permit that exists on the project. To add this, select a Zoning Permit number from the "Copy Regulations from" drop down then click the Copy button. This will add the Specifications from the Zoning Permit selected to the Regulations table.
The reference data can also be any of the regulations configured for the Primary and Overlay Zoning Districts. Select All Configured Values from the drop down then click the Copy button and the Select Regulations from Zoning Districts form opens (see Figure 81). Click the check box(es) of any regulations you wish to reference on this Zoning Relief Permit and then click Save to return to the Regulations tab. These values are not required for the Zoning Relief Permit application.
Figure 81 - Select Regulations from Zoning District
Once you are done on this tab, check the Regulations check box to continue to the Relief Categories tab.
The Relief Categories tab is used to select standardized reasons for the Zoning Relief. These are organized in a hierarchical list of General Categories and Specific Categories. Select a General Category from the drop down and then click the Change button to add the associated Specific Categories. This opens the Select Specific Categories of Zoning Relief form (see Figure 82).
Figure 82 - Zoning Relief General and Specific Categories
Check the check box(es) for any values you wish to select here and click the Save button to return to the Relief Categories tab. The Specific Categories are populated in the table for you. You can enter data directly into the table by double clicking on the Existing Conditions, Proposed Conditions or Notes columns in any row. Also, you can change the Disposition for each Specific Category by selecting a value in the drop down in each row. Once you have completed data entry on this tab check the Relief Categories check box to continue to the Valuation/Fees tab.
Valuation and Fees
On the Valuation/Fees tab, if there are Zoning fees for the Zoning Relief that are based on the Valuation Amount, you must provide a Valuation Amount in the edit box provided (see Figure 83).
Figure 83 - Zoning Relief Form: Valuation and Fees Tab
Once the Zoning Relief Permit’s status has been changed to Applied, the Amend button becomes enabled for you to change the valuation if needed. After you are satisfied with the values you have provided, click Calculate to open the Fee Calculation form.
Figure 84 - Fee Calculation Form For Zoning Relief Permit
The Fee Calculation form displays all of the fees configured for the Zoning Relief Type and includes the Fee Calc(ulation) Method for each fee. If an optional fee needs to be assessed you will need to check off that fee/row in the R column. Fee Calc Methods Manual and Fixture have buttons in the Calc Data column that say Enter or Calculate that require your input. When you click Enter the Fee Amount dialog opens. Enter the manual fee and click Save to return to the Fee Calculation form. When you click Calculate the Fixture Entry dialog opens. Enter the Quantity directly into the table for each fixture that is applicable to the permit. When complete, click Calculate Total and click Save to return to the Fee Calculation form.
Upon return to the Fee Calculation form, the Subtotal column contains the manually entered fee and the calculated Fixture fee. Valuation fee types are calculated using a table lookup with the Valuation Amount. This Fee Calc Method has a Details button in the Calc Data column. When you click this button, the Fee Lookup form opens to display the details of how the fee was calculated. You can print this form if needed. Back on the Fee Calculation form, the Add New Fee and Add New Fixture buttons allow you to do so now or after the permit status has changed to Applied. You may Void or Waive fees only after a Zoning Relief Permit is Applied. While there are still any Due fees on a permit you can click Recalculate New Fees to delete due fees and start over with fee calculations. Any fee with a Sub-Total of $0 will be removed from the relief permit after it is Applied. Click Save to save the Fee Calculations and return to the Zoning Relief form. The Due and Balance Due amounts are updated from the Fee Calculation form. Check the Valuation/Fees check box to continue to the Status group box.
If no custom fields have been configured for this Permit Type you will skip over this group box. However, if any custom fields have been configured, required or not, you will have to visit this group box. All required fields must be filled out at this time, but you can come back to this Custom group box and edit any fields later. Check the Custom check box to continue to the Status group box.
At this point you are ready to apply the relief permit. Take a moment to review the relief data and if corrections are necessary see the section on Backing Up/Making Corrections below. If the relief application is satisfactory, click Apply. Note how the Zoning Relief form appears after you Apply the permit. The top bar shows the Relief Number, the Status is Applied, the Status button now says Complete and the Hold/Void, Reject and Edit Mode buttons are also now available. The Group check boxes are no longer needed and are not displayed. Once a Zoning Relief Permit is Applied the Invoice/Refund button on the Valuation/Fees tab is highlighted for you when you open the form until the fees have been paid. BluePrince assumes that marking fees paid is the next step. Click Close when you are finished with the Zoning Relief application.
Backing Up/Making Corrections
At any point during data entry for the Zoning Relief Permit you can back up to a previous group box and make a change. When you reach the group box you want to change un-check the check box. BluePrince may erase some of the group boxes that follow the one you unchecked. This is because the group you have decided to change affects the calculations or processing in the groups that get erased.
Zoning Relief Operations
Once a Zoning Relief Permit’s status has been changed to Applied, there are a number of tasks that may be necessary to perform. Examples are: Adjusting the Valuation, Creating and Posting Invoices, adding Legal Notices and Completing the Relief Permit. These tasks are described in the following sections.
To work on the Relief Permit you must first retrieve the Zoning Relief Permit record you want. Zoning Permit records are accessible from the Project, Inspections and Search forms.
To change the Valuation, click Amend on the Valuation/Fees tab (note you need to be in Edit Mode to do this). This opens the Amend Valuation Dialog. Enter the new Valuation and click Save to return to the Zoning Permit form. Then click the Fee Details button to review any fee adjustments that might have occurred because of the change in valuation.
Three new Calc Methods may be created, Adj(ust) Valuation, Adj(ust) % of Valuation, and Adj(ust) % of Total because of the valuation change. These fees may be plus or minus so that the total of the previous fee plus the adjustment reflects the correct fee. So:
- Total of Adj Valuation (Lookup)+ Valuation (Lookup)
- Total of Adj % Valuation + % Valuation
- Total of Adj % of Total + % of Total
result in the correct Valuation Lookup, % Valuation and % of Total respectively. It's possible for these adjustments to be $0, in cases where the change in Valuation results in no change to the fees.
Fee and Invoice Operations
Once a Zoning Relief Permit is Applied, the Invoice/Refund button on the Valuation/Fees tab is highlighted for you whenever you open the form until the Balance Due is $0. BluePrince assumes that marking fees paid is the next step until the all fees are paid. If your Jurisdiction is not using BluePrince Accounting the label on the Invoice/Refund button reads "Invoice". Click this button and follow the procedures in Chapter 13, Section "Processing Payments" below.
If your Jurisdiction is using BluePrince Accounting, click the Invoice/Refund button to open the Account Holder's Account form. The Non-Invoiced Fees tab is highlighted for you. You can create an invoice for permit fees using the procedures in Chapter 14, Sections - "Account Form Overview" (Non-Invoiced Fees tab) and "Zip Thru Accounting" below.
A Primary Decision and Decision Date must be entered on the Decision tab of the Zoning Relief Permit before the permit can be Completed. There is an optional Secondary Decision and Date that if configured must also be entered in order to Complete the permit. Both Decision makers’ titles are configurable and the Conditions section is optional to fill out. On the Legal Notice tab you can also cut and paste or type any additional text about the decision made.
To Complete a Zoning Relief Permit click the Complete button. To Complete, thereby grant, Zoning Relief the following must be true:
- The Balance Due must be $0 if Permit Type is configured as Pay Before Complete.
- A Decision and Decision Date must be entered on the Decision Tab of the Zoning Relief form.
When the Complete button is clicked, the permit status changes to Completed.
You may need to reject a Zoning Relief Permit due to non-compliance with your zoning regulations. To Reject a Zoning Relief Permit click the Reject button. You will see a Confirmation Dialog.
Rejecting a Zoning Relief Permit causes the following changes:
- All Due Fees and Invoices are Canceled
- The Zoning Relief Permit can no longer be changed.
The Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter a reason for rejection if you desire and click Save.
Hint: It is important to leave the keywords "REJECT APPLIED" in the note because these can be used to locate the note on the Notes tab.
Hint: You can decide to cancel rejecting the permit by clicking the Cancel button on the Notes form. This closes the Notes form and returns you to the Zoning Relief form with no changes to the permit status.
When the permit is Rejected, the Reject button reads Un-Reject so that, at a later time, you can Un-Reject the Zoning Relief Permit to make changes or to re-evaluate the Zoning relief request. Click it to return the Zoning Relief Permit to its previous status. Again, the Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter any other comments and click Save.
Hint: It is important to leave the keywords "REJECT REMOVED" in the note because these can be used to locate the note on the Notes tab.
To put a Zoning Relief Permit on Hold click Hold. You will see a Confirmation Dialog.
The Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter the reason for the Hold and click Save.
Hint: It is important to leave the keywords "HOLD APPLIED" in the note because these can be used to locate the note on the Notes tab.
Hint: You can decide to cancel putting the Zoning Relief Permit on Hold by clicking the Cancel button on the Notes form. This closes the Notes form and returns you to the Zoning Relief form with no changes to the permit status. When the Zoning Relief Permit is on Hold, the Hold Button reads Undo Hold. Click it to remove the Hold and return the permit to its previous status. Again, the Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter any other comments and click Save.
Hint: It is important to leave the keywords "HOLD REMOVED" in the note because these can be used to locate the note on the Notes tab.
To put Void a Zoning Relief Permit click Void. You will see a Confirmation Dialog. The Confirmation Dialog explains what will happen to outstanding fees and invoices if you void the Zoning Relief Permit. When you click Yes the Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter the reason for the voiding the relief permit and click Save.
Hint: It is important to leave the keywords "VOID APPLIED" in the note because these can be used to locate the note on the Notes tab.
Hint: You can decide to cancel voiding the Zoning Relief Permit by clicking the Cancel button on the Notes form. This closes the Notes form and returns you to the Zoning Relief form with no changes to the permit status. When the Zoning Relief Permit is Void (ed), the Void Button reads Undo Void. Click it to remove the Void and return the Zoning Permit to its previous status. Again, the Notes Dialog opens for you with appropriate key words already entered in the Note. Enter any other comments and click Save.
Hint: It is important to leave the keywords "VOID REMOVED" in the note because these can be used to locate the note on the Notes tab.
To make corrections any time after the Zoning Relief Permit is Applied, click Edit Mode. The Zoning Relief form enables the fields you can change with a white background.
Once the permit is Applied you can click Print in the upper right corner of the Zoning Permit form to print any pre-configured print templates.