City of Sarasota launches online, mobile options for building permits, inspections

Building Division accepting credit card payments via online portal

This is the form persons can fill out online for permit inquiries and payments. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The City of Sarasota’s Development Services Department is rolling out new phone, online and mobile services that have been designed to make it even easier for customers to do business with the city, “especially during the COVID-19 health emergency,” the city announced on July 9.

The department’s Building Division is accepting credit card payments for permits via an online portal, a news release explains. Staff members receive an alert when a payment is made so they can issue the approved permit, helping to streamline the process, the release adds. The portal may be found by clicking on the “Permits & Licenses” button on the city’s homepage,, and then clicking the “Building Permit Lookup/Pay Online” link.

The department also has launched an integrated voice response (IVR) system that allows contractors and property owners to schedule, reschedule and cancel inspections, as well as check results, through an automated phone line and text service, the release notes. Next-day inspections may be scheduled up until 9 p.m., depending on availability, by calling 941-263-6998 or by texting “schedule” to 844-394-2702, the release says.

The city’s live inspections phone line (263-6418) and email ( are still available for customers who prefer to communicate directly with a representative, the release points out.

“We’re excited to be making these process improvements and give our customers the option to skip trips to our office if they choose,” said Interim Development Services Director Gretchen Schneider in the release. “We’re always looking for ways we can be more efficient and enhance the customer service experience for our citizens and the development community.”

Staff worked with the city’s vendor to expedite the launch of the new permitting software to help facilitate online transactions, so customers can comply with social distancing practices necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the release notes. The department also has established a drop box in the City Hall Annex lobby for contact-free document pickups and drop-offs.

Many other city services are available online at, the release points out.

“I encourage all of our clients to use these new tools, as they allow for safer, more flexible interaction with the Building Division,” said Building Official Larry Murphy in the release. “Staff has worked very hard to make this a reality, and our clients will be able to interact with us remotely and effectively.”

Since a state of emergency was declared in Florida in early March, the department’s Building Division has processed more than 2,000 permit applications with a total construction value of more than $100 million, the release points out. The division also has conducted thousands of inspections “while adhering to social distancing,” the release adds.

For more information, contact Development Services at 263-6449.