LA City Planning Modernizes Development Application Process

SimpliGov and Novinzio Create Simple, Intuitive Online Form for Citizens and City Planners

Like many cities across the country, developers, homeowners, and citizens in Los Angeles looking to break ground on any project—a new daycare facility, a set of high-rise apartments, a house remodel, or anything in between—had to engage in a process that was paper-based and relied heavily on in-person interaction with city planners. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic presented the LA City Planning Office with an opportunity to make applying for a new construction project easier, more efficient, and less time-consuming for citizens and employees.


LA City Planning turned to government IT consultancy Novinzio and workflow automation provider SimpliGov to digitize the entire development application process and accomplish a few broader department goals:

  • Enable citizens to initiate the process, file paperwork, and engage with the office online
  • Establish process standards and governance
  • Enable LA City Planning staff to facilitate business remotely
  • Streamline case review work and free employees up to handle more cases
  • Deliver the project within a limited timeframe and budget
  • Make it easy and intuitive for staff to construct and manage the new process with minimal involvement from IT

Novinzio leveraged SimpliGov’s intuitive drag-and-drop Forms Designer, no-code Workflow Automation, and electronic signatures to create an easier, more intuitive workflow for all parties.


For Developers:

  • Applicants fill out a Department of City Planning Application form (DCP 7771) online using any device (laptop, smartphone, desktop, etc.)
  • Applications are automatically integrated into LA City Planning’s GIS and mapping systems
  • Applicants upload associated documents (e.g., plans, maps, images, etc.) to a repository linked to Entitlement cases
  • A pdf version of the DCP 7771 is generated, filled in automatically, and delivered to the applicant for electronic signature
  • Applicants are presented with clearly marked fields indicating required additional information and documents
  • Email notifications alert applicants to each next step

For LA City Planning Staff:

  • Development Services Center (DSC) staff review and validate each DCP 7771 application against an online dynamic Primary Checklist, where the system helps track the receipt of required information and documents through a single interface
  • The system interface presents only those fields and documents developers must modify/correct with each step
  • Upon DCP 7771 form approval, a case is officially created inside of LA City Planning’s Planning Case Tracking System (PCTS), and an official case number is assigned
  • Collaboration among DSC staff is enabled and can be captured during formal review of each case


  • Applicants no longer need to appear in person at one of the three LA City Planning offices
  • Routine paperwork is filed automatically
  • Applicants and DSC staff collaborate more efficiently
  • Digitized and archived cases are easily retrievable and auditable
  • SimpliGov’s no-code solutions leveraged existing IT systems and were implemented within weeks
  • Novinzio’s domain expertise and SimpliGov’s drag-and-drop forms enabled planners to design and configure forms and processes to fit the office’s unique needs

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