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August 11, 2017


What's in a neighborhood? Albany search tool provides answers

Property data, waste collection, police patrols included in database details

By Amanda Fries, Hearst Times Union
Updated 4:04 pm, Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How many properties does the city of Albany own and where are they located?

Before, if you wanted the answer, you would have to scroll through hundreds of pages in a PDF file to find each tax parcel.

Now Albany’s online search tool makes property data readily available by detailing an extensive amount of information, including ownership, zoning regulations,  historic registry restrictions and even contact information for the beat officer in a neighborhood.

The city Tuesday launched the new online search tool that allows users to access property data by searching an address, tax identification number, or property owner.

“All that information is at your fingertips,” Mayor Kathy Sheehan said. “A lot of questions revolve around a property – that’s what generates many of the phone calls to the Mayor’s Office.”

The database is available at

Albany Planning Director Chris Spencer said the program was borne out of a frustration shared by himself and others in City Hall: the age-old problem of information being available in different places and not easily accessible.

Development of the online dataset cost about $15,000 and was part of the city’s overhaul of its zoning, he said.

“We want to be as transparent as possible,” Sheehan said. “This isn’t to say we won’t still be available, but if you want to be self-directed, this is a huge time saver.”

Much of the information helps residents — especially those new to Albany or moving to Albany — with essential information,  such as the day of trash pickup or the location of parks.  And city officials say there’s plenty of opportunity to expand and provide more data.  

Sheehan said this will also help potential investors and developers collect necessary information without having to make a series of calls or visit multiple city departments.

City officials eventually want data on crime, code violations and unpaid tax bills accessible through an online search and readily updated. Albany currently has a 90-day crime dataset, unpaid parking ticket listings and city employee earnings available through a separate data source called openAlbany.

Some of this data needs to be adjusted to correspond with the property information the new search tool uses, Spencer said.