The idea for LandRules was born from a desire to improve Tulsa’s delivery of online development services. I created this concept document to help present that idea.
Tulsa Development Online 2.0
For local community members or visitors from across the U.S. researching Tulsa’s real estate development environment.
Municipal websites all over the country are accessed daily as the primary resource for information about development regulations and processes. Users include property owners, neighborhood groups, developers, real estate agents, brokers, property managers, appraisers, landscape architects, architects, engineers, planners, designers, building contractors, libraries, schools, bankers, lawyers, and others.
Unbiased, politically neutral, self-service community resource for understanding Tulsa’s land development regulations and processes. Essential for anyone who wants to understand zoning, development regulations, and local processes in order to accomplish a personal or development project, understand the impact of development on the neighborhood and community, or participate in the public planning process.
Consists of usable, searchable, accessible zoning codes, subdivision regulations, and comprehensive plan information, along with various related documents of Urban Development, Real Estate, and Public Works departments. Includes interactive tools delivering education or assistance to understand and apply land use regulations and development processes. Has an ombudsman-like focus that helps level the field to improve accessibility to regulations and processes, creating a bridge to the tools, vocabulary and knowledge of land planning.
Immediately. Tulsa’s current online resources provide mostly static, rudimentary documents that aren’t searchable, lack proper navigation and a professional aesthetic. They are not reliably updated and in some cases there are redundant conflicting versions.
Current and emerging web technologies make it possible to provide a much more reliable and convenient service to all customers on a wide range of platforms and make it much easier for documents to be updated. Compared with cities of all sizes across the country, our current service is barely average. Progressive, visible changes are needed to position Tulsa as a leader in providing access to development rules and processes.
City of Tulsa and unincorporated Tulsa County should take the lead and create a model for neighboring cities to follow. System should be seamlessly integrated with existing City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, and INCOG websites.
Because Tulsans are demanding major improvements in openness and transparency of our land development and planning processes. Because our current offering of online resources is scattered in several locations without adequate cross-referencing and in several cases are redundant with different versions of the same ordinance. They are cumbersome to navigate, static and unsearchable. They are not always reliably updated.
Creating such a knowledge resource will empower the community by improving accessibility for anyone interested in the decisions that impact their surroundings. It will present a progressive and welcoming image to businesses looking at Tulsa as a place to build. It will improve the public’s perception of local government and promote inclusive dialog and access to timely information.
Seek input from select community members with diverse interests to help steer project development. Work with stakeholders to assure integrity and sustainability of the information. Conduct usability testing on existing online resources to validate assumptions and contribute to a solid information architecture road map.
Start with zoning and subdivision regulations. Create standardized format and presentation to greatly improve usability over what is currently offered; include links to glossaries and other related content; develop thesaurus to enhance searchability; include common language explanations; connect to documented interpretations and court rulings.
Include process descriptions and process maps; identify key contact positions within the processes; develop tutorials and tools to aid in preparing development applications and support documents.
Develop content management system with administration tools and help features for use by municipal employees for content maintenance. Maintenance system must respect all user skill levels and allow content to be input in its simplest form while maintaining the high standards of presentation and features. Exploit technology to provide for rapid, accurate updates of ordinances, land use applications, and other public information gathered from various municipal resources. Documents should be stored in secure environment where staff uploads new content or updates to existing.
Continue usability testing throughout project development. Strive for compliance with accessibility and usability standards, cross-platform compatibility, and open-source spirit.
- Searchable and navigable zoning codes, subdivision regulations, general development regulations for storm, sanitary, water, etc. and possibly building codes.
- Processes and Players details – identify the players and describe the processes to get land use approvals.
- Basic tutorials – where to get a legal description, how to draw a site plan, how to plan a project, how to be effective at public hearings, necessity of communications with staff and PR with neighborhood.
- Searchable log of current case status and legacy case data – subdivisions, lot splits, zoning, PUD’s, CO plans, PUD plans, BOA. Eventually include building permits and other development applications.
- Online application filing/payment with real-time logging and posting to public meeting agendas.
- Private subscription area for development project files with storage/retrieval, map and site plan making tools.
- GIS interface for current zoning, comprehensive plan, transportation plans, parcel data, etc. Privacy concerns and ownership of core data will be obstacles.
- Intelligent application builder – Q/A process for applicant to start broad and refine to specific solutions. Assists to narrow search for applicable rules to sort out the root problem from the emotional rambling.
- Content Management Admin interface for subscriber entities (local government, boards, commissions, administrators) to allow updates to codes, application forms, processes and other management of local customized content.
- Explore Web Services for dynamic content delivery to make codes and some tools available for connection by other websites.
- Mobile versions of some tools.
- Email notification system for agendas, staff recommendations, meeting results, ordinance updates, etc.