Set up shop in your city.
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README.rdoc

OpenCounter

OpenCounter helps entrepreneurs navigate the regulatory jungle they face when starting a business.

A joint project of the City of Santa Cruz, CA and Code for America.

The Story Behind OpenCounter

The city of Santa Cruz wants to encourage folks to start local businesses, which create jobs and boost economic activity.

Opening a new business involves and requires coordination between many different city departments - Planning, Building, Finance, utilities, others…

…each of which has its own processes, procedures, forms and fees, and hours that they're open…

…so it can be hard for someone thinking of starting a business to even know where to begin!

OpenCounter aims to answer the following questions for new business owners:

  1. Which regulations apply to me?

  2. What do I need to do?

  3. How long will it take?

  4. How much will it cost?

Business owners told about what it took to get their business off the ground, and what might have made the process easier for them. City employees shared processes and procedures, documentation and forms, and walked us through how they guide new business owners through their required paperwork.

We took all this information, wrote an overview of the business permitting process, created an interactive zoning map, wrote calculators for many of the fees that new businesses pay, and stitched it into a step-by-step guide and questionnaire that guides applicants through the permitting process.

Status

OpenCounter is alpha software. Use at your own risk.

Roadmap

TBD

Deploying on Heroku

rake secret # to generate a secret token
heroku config:set SECRET_TOKEN={{your secret token}}

Contributing

In the spirit of [free software], *everyone* is encouraged to help improve this project.

[free-sw]: www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-sw.html

Here are some ways you can contribute:

  • by using alpha, beta, and prerelease versions

  • by reporting bugs

  • by suggesting new features

  • by translating to a new language

  • by writing or editing documentation

  • by writing specifications

  • by writing code (**no patch is too small**: fix typos, add comments, clean up inconsistent whitespace)

  • by refactoring code

  • by reviewing patches

Submitting a Pull Request

  1. Fork the project.

  2. Create a topic branch.

  3. Implement your feature or bug fix.

  4. Commit and push your changes.

  5. Submit a pull request.

License

Copyright © 2012, Code for America. All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  • Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

  • Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

  • Neither the name of Code for America nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.