City of Santa Monica Launches New Home Page and Virtual Permit Counter Services

October 30, 2020 9:20 AM

The City continues to focus on providing excellent city services by delivering an improved and more convenient digital experience. This week, the City of Santa Monica launched a new home page at and a new virtual permit counter. 

The updated home page at includes enhanced search functionality, easier access to the latest city news and services, and an improved design. The new home page is just the beginning with ongoing enhancements and additional customer service improvements planned throughout 2021 to make access to information and getting things done even easier. The website was built to be fully ADA compliant and is responsive on desktop, mobile and tablet, improving the experience for our entire community. An easier way to sign up for weekly email updates from the City of Santa Monica is also included in the website footer. 

“Providing excellent city services is our top priority, and this is an exciting next step in building out a digital experience that makes finding the information you need even easier,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “Continued enhancements are planned over the next year and will be shared in an ongoing way with the community to make using city services as easy as possible.” 


Santa Monicans will see the content and functionality of the new website evolve over the next year, fully shifting from to with the goal to create a cohesive, easy-to-use experience, eliminating barriers to finding information, and consolidating the latest information about the city’s programs, resources and services. Future website enhancements include improving the utility billing experience, digitizing paper-based processes, and presenting information in a more user-friendly way, making access to information and getting things done even easier.

Joseph Cevetello, the City’s Chief Information Officer, says, “With so many innovative people and companies in Santa Monica, it’s exciting to work on improving the City of Santa Monica’s digital experience. Please visit to experience the new improvements, and we look forward to implementing additional features throughout 2021.”

New virtual Permit Counter services are also available now for low impact projects, decreasing the time it takes to receive building permits to as little as three business days, and issuing building permits more quickly for projects that have successfully completed plan review. Qualifying “same-day” or “over the counter” permits include façade remodels, limited tenant improvements of less than 2,500 square feet and no change of use (except restaurants), fences and walls, window and door change-outs, roofing permits involving removal and replacement of tiles or shingles only, and mechanical, electrical, or plumbing fixture replacements. Building and Safety staff also offer virtual office hours for anyone that has questions at the preliminary stages of their project or want to discuss their ideas prior to formally submitting their plans for review. The City’s Permit Counter continues to operate remotely due to L.A. County Department of Public Health COVID-19 health and safety protocols and closures.

Virtual Permit Counter Process for Qualifying Permits:

  1. Submit the building permit application and supporting documents online and schedule an appointment.
  2. Attend a virtual appointment with city staff from Building and Safety, Planning, and Civil Engineering, as necessary.
  3. Attend a second virtual appointment with Permit Specialist staff for electronic payment and building permit issuance.

Virtual Permit Counter Hours:

Beginning Monday, November 2, applicants submitting building permit applications will be able to book virtual appointments.

“COVID-19 introduced new challenges and opportunities,” says Ariel Socarras, City of Santa Monica’s Building and Safety Manager. “Digitizing our counter services has been a big lift, but I’m excited that the city will be able to issue permits more quickly and make it easier for our community by improving the same day, over the counter permit services.”

Find out more about the Virtual Permit Counter ( For more information and to experience the new website, visit   


Media Contact

Miranda Iglesias
Public Information Coordinator


Information Services