Building permit fees up

For the first time in 14 years the Kitsap County Commissioners approved an increase in the cost of building permits by an average of 30 percent.

On a 1,600-square foot, one-story, home the average cost of a building permit could increase from $1,123 to $1,671, under the changes, according to the county’s Department of Community Development.

The higher fees are expected to increase revenue by $472,000 annually.

Before the changes, the permit fees covered about 12 percent of the cost of issuing the permits themselves, official said.

“We’ve been working on raising these fees for a better part of a year,” said County Commissioner Chris Endresen. “Part of the reason for that is the fees haven’t been raised since 1988 and the fees in no way have paid for all of the service.”

Building permit fees are set, based on the actual value of the structure. Values are determined by the size of a structure and any amenities linked to it, as prescribed by the International Conference of Building Officials.

But before implementing fee increases, the county wanted to improve service.

That’s why another change incorporated into the ordinance calls for concurrent review of applications between the DCD and the Kitsap County Health District.

The change allows for applications for a structure, as well as for a septic system and drinking-water well to be reviewed simultaneously, speeding-up the permitting process for builders and homeowners.

Under the old ordinance, an application for a building permit couldn’t be submitted until the Health District had approved the septic systems and drinking wells.

Jerry Deeter, with the environmental health division of the Health District, said his office and the DCD have worked together for several years to streamline permitting.

Such a concurrent-review time-table, as laid out under the revised ordinance could cut several weeks off the process.

The new procedure would:

l An initial screening of all applications by staff would be implemented to ensure applications are complete and correct. Applicants and property owners would then be notified within two days of the status of the applications.

Under the old standard, an applications waited for review by field staff — those who often go out to the site for review.

l An electronic records management system would be implemented for user-friendly tracking purposes possibly over the Internet.

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