Credit: via Montgomery County

If you’ve ever had to submit architectural designs to Montgomery County, you probably know about the amount of paper involved. Large drawings, summaries and other documents often accompany those designs.

In an effort to save time and reduce the amount of paper used, Montgomery County is promoting its new ePlan and ePermit systems, which allow residents and businesses to electronically file plans to obtain electrical, deck, new home and right-of-way permits.

County Executive Ike Leggett announced the new systems, which were tested over the past four months, at a press conference Tuesday, saying, “Doing business online is good for our residents and businesses, good for the environment and good for the county.”

The county launched the ePlan system in December with electrical and new home permits. Over two months, 35 percent of new home permit applications were submitted as ePlans, and 50 percent of all electrical permits were issued as ePermits, according to the county. More recently, the county added deck and right-of-way permits to the electronic filing system.

“Our customers can apply for these permits anywhere, anytime,” Diane Schwartz Jones, director of the Department of Permitting Services (DPS), said in a statement. She said the new, streamlined system has enabled her department to eliminate a backlog for electrical services.

Previously, residents and businesses had to drive to DPS to submit these permit applications. That option remains available, according to the county.

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The county estimates that the electronic filing system will save residents about 12,000 hours in driving time, $71,000 in fuel costs and 2.5 million sheets of paper, according to a graphic released with a press announcement.