Case Study

Cocoa Beach, FL, Prepares for Rapid Development with Streamlined Permitting and Licensing and Data-Backed Decision Making

The Challenge

Welcome to Cocoa Beach, FL, a coastal gem known for its world-class surf competitions, happening cruise ship scene, and Space Coast’s rocket launches. Home to the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop, Cocoa Beach marries the thrill of the waves with the excitement of space exploration. 

With all this excitement comes an upswing in both tourism and permanent residents. With Cape Canaveral announcing a twofold surge in cruise ships and Spaceforce gearing up for several more rocket launches, the area is in the midst of a development boom. To keep up with the growing demand, Director of Developmental Services Tanja McCoy has increased efficiencies by fostering collaboration across departments and moving all permits online. 

Check out the City’s online permitting portal here. 

“Making sure that we have a solid process in place for all of our permitting and review processes is crucial, and OpenGov is allowing us to stay on top of that.” Tanja McCoy, Directory of Developmental Services, City of Cocoa Beach, FL

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Customer Results

24 Permit Types Streamlined in OpenGov

1-2 Hours Faster FOIA Retrieval

Improved Workforce Data Leads to Smarter Hiring Decisions

Improved Collaboration with Centralized Permitting and Licensing

The Solution

The City of Cocoa Beach partnered with OpenGov back in 2019, marking the beginning of a transformative journey. Before OpenGov, Cocoa Beach navigated a custom system heavily reliant on paper, leading to a disjointed process and communication challenges across functions. Since then, the City has progressively broadened its use of the new platform, incorporating multiple departments into the system.

From special event permits to site plan review applications, the City has successfully transitioned 24 different permit types online and is on the way to incorporating all permits seamlessly into OpenGov. This integration encompasses key departments including Development, Building, Planning, Code Enforcement, and Police. 

The Results

Cross-Departmental Collaboration

One of McCoy’s first initiatives was adding efficiencies to the permit intake process, making it more collaborative and organized. “We must have all of the documents for each permit in one place,” said McCoy, “And OpenGov allows us to do that. All documents are attached to each permit in the system rather than in miscellaneous filing cabinets.”

Collaboration across departments is also key to getting permits approved faster. Each team member has a specialized role and task in OpenGov, ensuring that all permits undergo a thorough review and that necessary documents are linked to the permit.

“Throughout the permit process, we are definitely able to correspond better within the OpenGov system. We send each other notes that link to the exact permit we are talking about… it’s a lot easier to understand the status of a particular project. “

Faster FOIA Request Response Times

With all permits in the OpenGov system, McCoy and her team can easily respond to FOIA requests. This once tedious process required digging through filing cabinets to find paper copies.

“It’s so much easier because you can just type in the address and pull up all files and permits associated with that address. And then we just click the download button in OpenGov, and we can instantly send the files as attachments to the customer.”

The City estimates that this new process will save them up to two hours per FOIA request moving forward.

Transparent Reporting for More Strategic Decision Making

Cocoa Beach improved its permitting revenue documentation, making it easier to share crucial information with stakeholders.

“When someone from another department asks a question like, ‘how many of these types of permits did you complete?’ I can easily get that information rather than crunching the numbers myself,” said McCoy.

These reports are an integral part of forecasting, specifically for workforce planning:

“Easily identifying in OpenGov how many inspections we are completing in a given time period was a key piece in showing leadership that we needed to hire additional inspectors,” said McCoy.

Quicker and Easier Onboarding

Empowered by OpenGov’s resources and support, McCoy quickly mastered the system, driving notable improvements in her first 90 days as Development Director.

“One of the key pieces for me coming in was having OpenGov University. Watching the videos, I quickly learned how the system works and was able to make improvements in our processes right away.”

What’s Next? Streamlined Business Licensing

The City is expanding its use of OpenGov to include business licensing requests, spurred by increased developmental activity.

To streamline the growing volume of business licensing requests spurred by increased development activity, the City is expanding its utilization of OpenGov to include business licensing.

“We expect to see twice as many cruise ships in the next year, and with that, we need more hotels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions. We must streamline our business permits and become as efficient as possible…and OpenGov helps us get there,” said McCoy

With online permitting, enhanced collaboration, and better data, McCoy and team can now keep up with the City’s rapid development and make strategic decisions, like hiring, faster.

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