Here are some moves you can make to reduce the stress of getting a building permit in the county or elsewhere, Snohomish County officials say:
Step 1. Do some reconnaissance work. Drop into the building department to obtain information on what you need to apply for a permit. The county and many other departments have bulletins and lists of things you need to do. Part of the exploratory work is making sure you have a legal building lot and there’s no special setback requirements for buildings. Your building or planning department should be able to help you with that.
Step 2. A title search isn’t a bad idea, especially if you suspect there may be problems, such as a question about an easement or access.
Step 3. Check with the Snohomish Health District (425-339-5250), especially if the building project isn’t in a city. You must resolve any problems with water and septic systems. Even if you’re just adding a bedroom or two to an existing house, it’s possible the drain field for your septic system was installed to support a limited number of bedrooms.
Step 4. Properly apply for the building permit. Plans must conform to state and county building codes, and you may be required to have a professional engineer approve the plans. Remember, your plans must take into account modern insulation and seismic features. Make sure your plans are neat, accurate and detailed.
Step 5. Be patient.