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New Portal Provides Statewide Property Data

The new tool lets residents find specific properties or filter searches by attribute – and also learn whether an accessory dwelling unit can be added.

Symbium, a startup working on tools to help make zoning and permitting work easier at the local government level, has launched a portal allowing anyone to look up information about properties across the state of California.

Typically available via local assessor websites, real estate search engines and other such projects, the Symbium portal gives users the ability to search for a specific property, browse by area or filter by information such as assessed value, lot size or land use.

Though the portal only currently covers California — and offers more information in some parts of the state than others — the company plans to expand it to cover “other states with high housing needs.”

“The public’s access to rich data about their built environment has been blocked by expensive, archaic systems for way too long,” said Symbium co-founder and CEO Leila Banijamali in a press release. “Why can’t transacting with local governments be as easy as purchasing something on Amazon? Symbium is reimagining the built environment as data and empowering the public with the ability to seamlessly browse and visualize this data to understand what’s possible. This will lay the foundations of Symbium’s concept of a government relationship management system, which uses forms and permits as a mechanism to update this data and computational law to streamline and validate these updates.”

Symbium expands on the concept of the property lookup portal by offering information not just about what the property is currently used for, but what it could be used for in the future — specifically, the ability to build an accessory dwelling unit on the lot. The portal can also offer users links to local government forms they might need to do work on the property.

That kind of information became much more relevant in California after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed new laws in September making it easier for property owners to build multiple housing units on single lots.

Though it has larger ambitions, the startup has spent its formative years focusing on the local zoning and permitting processes that business and property owners must go through in order to get things done. Its tools have, for example, given developers a way to search an entire city to find areas zoned to their needs, and given homeowners a way to visualize and plan an accessory dwelling unit.

This article was originally published by Government Technology, Techwire's sister publication.