City permit numbers remain consistent

February 16, 2009

By Julian Martin

The city’s Public Works Engineering Department recently released the number of permits approved for 2008 with some surprising results.

With the country currently in the midst of a painful national recession, there does not appear to be a significant change in the amount of permits reviewed and approved over the past several years.

“They’re all pretty close,” said Sheldon Lynne, deputy director of the Public Works Engineering Department. This “will be the year that we can really tell whether there is a trend or not.”

In 2005, the department reviewed and approved 189 permits. By 2008, that number had risen to 213, decreasing slightly from 228 in 2007. 

“Towards the latter part of last year, however, we started to see a slowdown” in the number of requests, Lynne said. 

Among the permits approved were 45 for single-family homes. The documents are required for different forms of building activities carried out in the city, such as construction of homes or businesses, and according to the city’s Permit Center Web site, the permits assure that structures are built to nationally recognized standards.

Other types of work permits, including 18 water availability, 16 tree-removal and 127 right-of-way use permits were also granted in 2008. 

A number of private site-development permits, which are being processed through the Planning Department, were reviewed and commented on last year as well. 

Pending projects from 2008 vary, from construction of a new Arco AM/PM station on Sammamish Road, to the remodeling of Issaquah High School that would provide an additional 257,500 square feet of classroom and extracurricular activity space.

A summary of the site-development permits that all departments are processing can be found online on the Pending Projects Table, said David Favour, planning manager for the city’s Planning Department. The table can be accessed on the city’s Web site, and lists all projects pending, approved, under construction or under preliminary review. 

While the level of construction in the city may drop again this year depending on the economic climate, Lynne said that it was too early to determine whether or not a reduction in the number of permits would continue through 2009.

“We’re hearing the same things as everyone else,” he said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen.” 


On the Web

From here, follow the link for “Departments,” and then click “Building Department.” Access the “Permits Center” by using the navigation bar on the left side of the screen.


Julian Martin is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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