Building is up, so increase staff

Regarding “Planning dept needs some work”: I agree. We recently had a simple project to enclose part of an upper deck, within the existing footprint of the home, for which we had professional building and site plans drawn up and reviewed and stamped by an engineer.

It took a three-step process, taking several days, to get an appointment just to submit the permit. Along the way I was told that staffing level was cut during the recession, but permit activity is back to 2006 levels, so planning and building department staff are swamped.

The staff was very pleasant and the application complete, as required. They said it would take 30 days to get the permit issued. Thirty days!? For a deck enclosure? After some consultation, they shortened it up to two weeks. Two days would have seemed reasonable for engineer-stamped plans — for a 180-square-foot addition.

My question: If permit applications are back to pre-recession levels, why isn’t staffing back to the levels needed to handle it? Where is the revenue from permits going? Does the county get the economic link between facilitating development, increased tax revenue and adequate staffing? Snohomish County has worked hard on land-use issues over the years, and adopted new plans and regulations under new statewide land-use laws. Congratulations! The benefits of having those tools in place are increased certainty, and less friction, with everyone knowing, or having access to, what is expected. It’s time to shift into implementation gear, open up the pipeline, and better handle the demand for new development. Staff up!

Nancy Noe

Snohomish County

More in Opinion

Editorial: Save some shopping for Small Business Saturday

Patronizing businesses in your hometown promotes the local economy and supports jobs. And it’s fun.

Editorial cartoons for Friday, Nov. 24

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Keillor: Don’t count calories today; count your blessings

Load up your plate with gratitude for the gifts of Providence, from profiteroles to procrastination.

Ignatius: An art-world tool could provide more faith in facts

‘Digital provenance’ could provide a trail of evidence that would assure greater confidence in news.

Saunders: Political world wrestles with how to handle gropers

While corporations can quickly fire their bad boys, politics has muddied the fates of its accused.

RFA isn’t providing savings promised to Lynnwood taxpayers

The headline for the front-page article of the Nov. 18 Herald read… Continue reading

GOP tax bill’s trickle-down ethic goes against God’s word

While trickle-down tax policies may be of dubious merit even on purely… Continue reading

Second Amendment didn’t anticipate today’s arms

We have been looking the issues regarding gun control and assault weapons… Continue reading

Most Read