BRA launches online submission portal for filing of project documents
Sep 22, 2014
New system will improve records retention and streamline flow of information between agency, public and developers.
BOSTON – In an effort to continue modernizing systems at the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), a need highlighted throughout KPMG’s performance review of the agency, developers will now be required to submit project documents and updates through a newly designed online portal. The web-based system will significantly reduce the BRA’s current reliance on paper documents as the primary method of receiving letters of intent, project notification forms, notice of project changes, and other items that are crucial to the Article 80 development review process.
“We receive an incredibly high volume of documents during the development review process, and we want to be able to share information in a way that is hassle free for the public and members of the development community,” said Acting Director Brian Golden. “The new online system is another example of our concerted effort to improve accessibility and the flow of information.”
The BRA in the past has requested that developers submit as many as 60 hard copies of a particular project filing, which would then be distributed to people involved in the development review process. Last year the agency received more than 70 new project filings that amounted to thousands of pages in paper documents. The new system will result in far less wasted paper.
Last fall, the BRA launched a new website, www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org, to improve access to information about the agency, development projects, and planning initiatives. Using the website as a platform to engage with the public and make it easier for people to find documents, especially those related to development review, continues to be an important area of focus for the agency.
Some of the most significant features of the website include a weekly calendar that notes upcoming community meetings and events, streaming and archived videos and documents related to BRA/EDIC board meetings, a regularly updated blog and news section, tools to help the public better understand and participate in the development review process, and a robust research and maps section.
The new Article 80 digital submission system allows developers to file all project documents and renderings online. BRA project managers will approve information that is submitted before it goes live and review website content regularly to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. The BRA has reached out to developers to offer guidance and answer any questions about the new submission process.
“We’re excited that the new system will be much more efficient for project managers and developers alike,” said Erico Lopez, Director of Development Review and Policy. “Instead of dealing with dozens of hard copies of different filings, which made it difficult to share information quickly, my team is now able to manage submissions and updates through a digital system that everyone can easily access.”
The submission form asks developers to enter a range of information related to a given project, including everything from the total development cost and square footage, to the number of parking spaces, residential units, and contact information for the development team. An embedded Google Maps widget lets the submitter pinpoint the exact location of a project, and drag-and-drop capabilities make it easy to upload files such as project renderings. Developers will still be required to deliver a limited number of hard copies of any filing to the BRA.