Overland Park manages growth with GIS
The Overland Park (Kan.) Planning and Development Services Department has taken advantage of GIS to display land development trends and to assign building inspection activities. The department’s staff has automated what were previously time-consuming procedures, such as balancing the inspection workload between inspectors and tracking property conditions that affect development approvals. The automated process has synchronized parcel and environmental information, which has increased the usability of the city’s GIS and the integrity of the city’s data.
Overland Park has grown from 13 square miles in 1960 to 56 square miles in 1999, and, during the same period, its population has boomed from 29,000 to 145,000. The impetus behind that growth includes investments from businesses and high levels of service from the city’s agencies. In 2000, the city expects to continue its 2 to 3 percent annual population growth combined with commercial development equal to or greater than that of previous years.
The Planning and Development Services Department oversees the land development process from initial land development approvals through design reviews, building permits, inspections and certificates of occupancy. As part of the process, the department annually reviews rezoning and special use permit requests; records roughly 100 final plats; performs nearly 900 building code plan reviews; and issues more than 5,000 building permits.
Integrated tools for information and process management are critical to the success of the city in regulating its building boom. To automate the development process, the department uses Enterprise permitting and licensing software from Seattle-based Tidemark connected to ArcView GIS from Redlands, Calif.-based ESRI.
The city has linked its permitting and licensing database – including inspection codes, fee information, conditions and applicant information – to its GIS. When information is updated in the database, the changes can be seen in the GIS and vice versa.
For example, when the department reviews construction plans for subdivision grading and for infrastructure improvements, it uses the GIS to assign parcel tags to properties in 100-year floodplains, historic districts or other sensitive areas. The permitting database assigns conditions to the tags to ensure that future development activity is appropriate to the limitations of the tagged properties.
Additionally, the GIS staff has created an application that automates the assignment of parcel tags to parcels throughout subdivisions and then posts the tags to the permitting database. The application saves staff time and eliminates discrepancies in parcel information in the two systems. As a result of the application, access to data has been simplified, and staff productivity has risen.