After reading a few of the comments in the Phoenix CityScape thread, I figured i'd throw together this guide for using Phoenix's online building permitting system and some basics of the information available.
has the link to the permitting system under "Search for a building plan review" under I want to... in the main part of the page.
In the system:
- Project Information, in the yellow bar to the left of the first page, is the best place to start. You can use the project numbers, which are usually in a format like 06-5309, the one for the CityScape. The first two digits are the year, and the second set after the dash is some kind of series number which is usually but not always 4 digits. If you don't have a project number, get it with the fairly flexible name search, with *'s surrounding a particularly unique word in the name of the project. HX and I have found early evidence of new projects just by surrounding particular words like LOFT, TOWER, MONROE, etc. with asterisks and paging slowly through the results.
- Use the back button sparingly, and look for the haphazardly placed in-page navigation such as "Return to Search Results" instead. Fast, heavy clicking gets your session terminated, so wait a few seconds before paging through massive lists of results. I wouldn't worry too much about the technical nastygram it spits at you if it kicks you out.
- To figure out what a permit is, check Permit and Plan Type Listings.
On the naming conventions used for the permits:
-- Everything that starts with an F is usually fire safety, and there are lots of them.
-- The Plan Review permits, listed after the Fire Safety permits give insight to the pre-construction bureaucracy. A large project may have a dozen individual plan reviews before, during, and aside from any that would be required for actual building. The Reviewers Notes under each permit document the volley of mistakes by developers and subsequent corrections required by the city.
Every project will have a PAPP (pre application), which is the first step in the development process and many die there. ADDR (addressing) isn't hard to get started and abandonments (ABND) also start early on. Most of the the review permits seem excessively bureaucratic but as you dig in everything more or less is necessary...tho you might see particularly anal and repetitive behavior on the part of the city here or there.
-- Most of the construction, as opposed to plan review, permits start with a C. Anybody can get an entry in there for plan review, but the real projects will have permits with various keywords like structural, construction, building, etc.
-- O permits are Over the Counter, for small usually residential work.
- Permit Information Download back in the left menu on the main page is useful to track particular types of permits. For example, DEM (demolition) permits are usually nifty to watch for redevelopment/preservation as you get a relatively short list of what might be razed soon, legally at least.
If you want more information about a project that the permit doesn't detail, such as a building height, you have three options:
- Go to Development Services at City Hall with the project number in hand. Copying is usually 10c a page. I've only bothered doing this once to get a least wireframe diagrams of what the building will look like.
- Most rezoning cases will have various development standards like setbacks and building hammered out in the staff report that's attached to the parcel. The key is to get the Z number first. This map, http://www.phoenix.gov/PLANNING/zindex.pdf
has clickable tiles of Phoenix's zoning districts. The one covering midtown is G8, for example. Park Central, the miserable remnants of the mall on Central and Osborn has a Z number of Z-183-86, the 183 being the series number and the 86 being the year. Unfortunately, the staff reports aren't available through the city clerk's search thing, but Planning should be able to email you a copy. Call them at 602-262-7131.
- Call the planner or reviewer. The names of reviewers with particular concentrations are peppered throughout the permits and the main DSD number 602-262-7811 should connect you, tho the team lead might be best to try first. The first confirmation of the CityScape heights I posted here came from its reviewer. You don't really owe them that much of an explanation as to why you are curious, but the only time they've really cared, I remember them asking about whether my request was of a commercial nature. If you get voicemail, don't leave a message and call back later.
Hope this helps.