New Online System Will Make Applications to City Planning Easier

Training Sessions and Information Meeting Scheduled

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

​Until now, applying for zoning variances or use-permits was inconvenient. It meant paper copies of thick documents, multiple trips to the Municipal Center and many phone calls. That’s about to change.

The city’s online Accela system – already used for building permits and inspections – soon will be used for applications to city boards and commissions, including the City Council, Planning Commission, Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Board, Board of Zoning Appeals, Wetlands Board and the Development Service Center.

The new system will allow landowners and their contractors, including engineers, architects and builders, to file plans online, pay application fees online and check staff reviews online. Accela will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

The new system is scheduled to start in late October.


Here’s an example of how it will work. Many folks who run businesses from their homes must apply for a conditional use permit from the City Council, with reviews by planning staff and the Planning Commission. Today, that resident must make multiple copies of the application and supporting documents, deliver them to the Planning and Community Development Office near City Hall, and pay the fee in person. Checking on the application’s progress requires multiple phone calls or emails.


With Accela, applicants can submit materials and payments online, and can track the status of applications from the time they are submitted until they are approved. The system will offer real-time access to staff analysis, agenda items, review letters and decisions.


Want to learn more? The city will hold seven hands-on training sessions and one information meeting aimed at professional builders, engineers, architects, consultants and more.


Training sessions: Two-hour training sessions will be held at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in the Enterprise Training Center, 2416 Courthouse Drive, Building 19, on two dates:


Thursday, Sept. 10 – 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.; 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 6 – 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m.


Enter through the double doors facing Princess Anne Road. Limited seating is available, so reserve a seat and a guest login by contacting Jolilda Saunders at


Information meeting: An overview and demonstration of Accela will be held Thursday, Oct. 15 – 9 to 11 a.m., Advanced Technology Center, 1800 College Crescent, Building H, Room H265.


For more information on Acela, contact Jolilda Saunders at (757) 385-4621 or


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