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 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.

Commentary: Test your knowledge of Thanksgiving

Don’t try talking turkey until your know the facts.

Dionne: Warts and all, reason to be thankful for journalism

How one editor, a World War II vet, encouraged what reporters still strive for in each day’s work.

Milbank: Since you asked, Sarah, this is what I’m thankful for

For starters: I’m thankful for the Founders’ checks and balances that stand between us and despotism.

Having gratitude for others enhances our lives

I am thankful for gratitude because it makes me focus on the… Continue reading

Thankful for care provided by Providence Breast Center

It is always important to take time to count one’s blessings. I… Continue reading

Providence guild’s volunteers make a difference

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter this joyful holiday season, I appreciate… Continue reading

Most Read