Community Connections Innovation Palo Alto 101

City of Palo Alto Launches New Tool to Track Permit Applications

The City of Palo Alto launched an exciting new online tool recently that allows people to search by address or zip code and find all the new planning applications are proposed for any given neighborhood. The tool, created by a start up in San Francisco called Buildingeye, takes current and recently approved planning application records, including architectural and individual reviews, and puts them into a user-friendly map. Maps can be filtered to show applications that are accepted or in review (blue), those with a completed review (green), or both. Users can go back in time or just search for current applications.


“This new interactive tool lets the community know exactly where and what is proposed for their neighborhoods,” said Hilary Gitelman, Director of Planning and Community Development in an announcement about the tool. Added Palo Alto Chief Information Officer Jonathan Reichental, “Partnering with startups such as Buildingeye represents a new model for cities.”

In addition to the online mapping tool, users can also set up alerts for a given neighborhood or address and Buildingeye will send emails when a new planning application is submitted for that area, or an existing application is approved. The data is updated weekly, based on information received by the City of Palo Alto.

According to Director Gitelman, about one quarter of applications to the Planning and Community Development Department are for reviews of projects planned for two story residences (called Individual Review Applications), while the remainder are for architectural reviews, conditional use variances and signage applications.houseunderconstruction

The new tool to track planning applications and approvals can be found here, or at, and can be accessed by tablet or smartphone.

About the author

Victoria Thorp

Victoria Thorp

Victoria is the founder and editor of Palo Alto Pulse and has lived in Palo Alto since 2007. Victoria's diverse professional background includes working as the editor of , as a senior writer for KIPP and Teach for America, and as a radio producer for City Visions on KALW (91.7FM San Francisco). She is a graduate of Leadership Palo Alto and a member of the Palo Alto Partners in Education Advisory Board.

She has a BA in English from Tufts University and Masters in Education and Secondary Teaching Credential in English from UCLA.