Businesses, developers, and contractors are understandably concerned that projects will be halted and are unsure about next steps. Thankfully, on March 18, 2020, L&I rolled out their new online application submission system known as the Electronic Commercial Licensing, Inspection and Permitting Services Enterprise, or “eCLIPSE” for short. Through eCLIPSE, L&I has the ability to process and approve zoning, use and building applications throughout the physical closure of local government offices.
Not only are the members of our Land Use and Zoning Team already registered users of eCLIPSE, we have been in constant communication with L&I’s Permitting Department from conception to implementation of the system. Therefore, we are intimately familiar with and have been trained on the process. Although the system is new, our team is already busy filing Zoning Permit Applications and Appeals to the ZBA through eCLIPSE.
L&I is currently reviewing / approving the following through the eCLIPSE system:
In addition to permitting the filing of new applications, eCLIPSE allows the payment of application fees, of the ability to monitor the review status, and permits correspondence with a plan examiner to provide additional documentation.
For an in-person applications filed before March 13th, the City has created a process that can convert a paper filing to the eCLIPSE to allow for payment and issuance of a permit during this shutdown. This conversion will only be available to applications that have been Approved but not Issued. For applications received prior to March 13th but not approved, applicants will have to wait for email notifications of approval or requests for information directly through email.
Although there will be residual delays due to COVID-19, L&I has made it clear that the department will be continuing to review applications throughout the City shutdown. Please contact our Land Use and Zoning Team for help navigating the new system.
Please be aware that the issuance of a permit from L&I is not considered a waiver from the Business Activity and Stay Home Order that bans most construction in the City.
Please note, on April 5, 2020, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health issued an Order mandating enhanced cleaning and disinfecting requirements for owners of large buildings. The Cleaning Order applies to owners of buildings of at least 50,000 square feet used for commercial, industrial or other enterprises, including but not limited to facilities for warehouses, manufacturing, commercial offices, airports, grocery stores, universities, colleges, government, hotels, and residential buildings with at least 50 units.
The Coronavirus Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID-19 situation develops.
Author Katherine Missimer is of counsel in the Real Estate & Financing Department at Klehr Harrison.