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Mayor Walsh launches expanded small business permit and licensing assistance

Mayor Martin J. Walsh is taking another step to ensure that business owners and entrepreneurs are able to successfully start and grow businesses in Boston.

Digital kiosks have been installed at several agencies across the city that will connect constituents within two business days to City of Boston business development specialists, trained to help small businesses navigate the complex permitting and licensing system, and connect them with resources and technical assistance.

“I am committed to making sure that small businesses throughout Boston are supported from concept to launch, including the highest level of customer support through the permitting process,” said Mayor Walsh. “Technology is an important way to improve efficiency and provide people with the information they need. These kiosks are just one small part of improving the technology behind a better, more user-friendly permitting process.”

The seven kiosks have been placed at the Inspectional Services Department and the Fire Prevention Division of the Fire Prevention Division at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, and the Consumer Affairs and Licensing Department, the Boston Licensing Board, the Department of Neighborhood Development, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority at 1 City Hall Plaza.

This reform is the latest improvement to Boston’s permitting and licensing system, led by Mayor Walsh’s interagency permitting team, which has been meeting regularly since February to improve the process, technology and tracking of permit applications citywide.

In August Mayor Walsh launched a joint effort with the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) to host the City’s first-ever Hubhacks Permitting Challenge. The civic-minded Hackathon kicked off a project to reinvent the City’s online permitting experience, one of the most common ways that Bostonians interact with the City of Boston, by reaching out to Boston’s tech community. 

In addition, Mayor Walsh recently announced the creation of a streamlined Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) process for small businesses and 1-2 family owner-occupied residential applications. A subcommittee of the Zoning Board of Appeals will meet bi-weekly on Thursday nights to hear zoning relief requests from small businesses and smaller residential projects. Previously, these meetings occurred less frequently, and these latest changes will aid small businesses and homeowners making renovations to their properties, by directing tailored attention to smaller projects and major developments.  

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