King County cuts wait times for building permits

November 9, 2010

By Staff

The long waits for King County environmental and building permits should shrink, because the county permitting agency has adopted a more user-friendly policy.

Beginning Oct. 18, the county Department of Development and Environmental Services started to provide same-day or “over the counter” reviews for many permit types.

The “over-the-counter” permits include small residential remodels, tenant improvements to commercial spaces, building additions, decks, seismic retrofits and others. Complex development proposals still require appointments.

Customers still have the option to make appointments.

“It doesn’t make sense for someone who needs a quick oil change to have to wait in line behind someone who needs their engine rebuilt,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a news release.

The permitting agency offered walk-in permit services in the past, but in the late 1990s the department shifted to the appointment system due to a building boom.

Department Director John Starbard said the existing lower volume of permit applications and a smaller customer base due to annexations and incorporations allowed the return to a walk-in system for many permit types.

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