Executive emphasizes partnerships, prosperity in State of the County address

February 14, 2012

King County is akin to the Oakland A’s depicted in the film “Moneyball” — nimble and unconventional — County Executive Dow Constantine declared Feb. 6.

Dow Constantine

Constantine, in the annual State of the County address, used the baseball team to illustrate a recent effort to streamline county government.

“The county used to be a little like the New York Yankees. Its first response to a problem was to throw money at it,” he said. “Now we’re more like the 2002 Oakland A’s depicted in ‘Moneyball’ — smart and scrappy. Finding inefficiencies in the established system — seeking out the highest performance at the lowest-possible cost. Getting the best value.”

The top elected official in the county emphasized partnerships and prosperity as steps to reshape local government. Some changes resulted from a performance-based management program modeled on a system at Toyota.

“The state of county government can be found in this simple fact: King County is back on sound financial footing,” he said.

Officials did not need to make deep cuts to services last year in order to craft a 2012 budget.

Read more

Dow Constantine emphasizes partnerships, prosperity in State of the County address

February 7, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 7, 2012

King County is akin to the Oakland A’s depicted in the film “Moneyball” — nimble and unconventional — County Executive Dow Constantine declared Monday.

Dow Constantine

Constantine, in the annual State of the County address, used the baseball team to illustrate a recent effort to streamline county government.

“The county used to be a little like the New York Yankees. Its first response to a problem was to throw money at it,” he said. “Now we’re more like the 2002 Oakland A’s depicted in ‘Moneyball’ – smart and scrappy. Finding inefficiencies in the established system – seeking out the highest performance at the lowest-possible cost. Getting the best value.”

The top elected official in the county emphasized partnerships and prosperity as steps to reshape local government. Some changes resulted from a performance-based management program modeled on a system at Toyota.

Read more

County permitting agency waives fees for damage inspections

January 24, 2012

Unincorporated King County residents facing damage from recent snow and ice storms can receive building inspections compliments of the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services.

The agency waived the associated fee to help homeowners speed up repairs. The county permitting agency is also giving priority service to damaged structures in need of permits for repair work.

Inspectors evaluate the integrity of structures, assess whether a structure is safe to occupy and decide whether a permit is required for repair work.

Inspectors may also advise customers of the need to pursue a more detailed inspection from a licensed structural engineer to determine the extent of the damage.

Though the fee for inspections is waived, standard permit fees still apply. Permits may be required before performing certain nonbuilding-related repairs, such as hazardous tree removal, if trees sit in environmentally critical areas. But permits can be issued retroactively if a tree poses imminent danger to people or property.

Call 206-296-6630 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to request a damage inspection.

Permits can be issued over the counter at the Department of Development and Environmental Services office, 900 Oakesdale Ave. S.W., Renton, for minor repairs.

Contact Bernard Moore, building inspection supervisor, at 206-296-6762, or bernard.moore@kingcounty.gov; or Chris Ricketts, building official, at 206-296-6750, or chris.ricketts@kingcounty.gov, to learn more.

County permitting agency waives fees for damage inspections

January 23, 2012

NEW — 8:15 p.m. Jan. 23, 2012

Unincorporated King County residents facing damage from recent snow and ice storms can receive building inspections compliments of the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services.

The agency waived the associated fee to help homeowners speed up repairs. The county permitting agency is also giving priority service to damaged structures in need of permits for repair work.

Inspectors evaluate the integrity of structures, assess whether a structure is safe to occupy and decide whether a permit is required for repair work.

Inspectors may also advise customers of the need to pursue a more detailed inspection from a licensed structural engineer to determine the extent of the damage.

Though the fee for inspections is waived, standard permit fees still apply. Permits may be required before performing certain nonbuilding-related repairs, such as hazardous tree removal, if trees sit in environmentally critical areas. But permits can be issued retroactively if a tree poses imminent danger to people or property.

Call 206-296-6630 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to request a damage inspection.

Permits can be issued over the counter at the Department of Development and Environmental Services office, 900 Oakesdale Ave. S.W., Renton, for minor repairs.

Contact Bernard Moore, building inspection supervisor, at 206-296-6762, or bernard.moore@kingcounty.gov; or Chris Ricketts, building official, at 206-296-6750, or chris.ricketts@kingcounty.gov, to learn more.

King County streamlines some building permits

April 19, 2011

King County is taking steps to remove some of the hassle out of applying for building permits.

The county Department of Development and Environmental Services is launching a program called Pre-Submittal Services for permits too complex for over-the-counter service.

The process provides direct customer service to applicants before they submit an application by providing feedback to identify technical issues or red flags, and set expectations for the process ahead. In turn, department staffers can immediately initiate or review an application, rather than having to go back to the applicant to request clarity or more information.

The service is set up for 12 types of mid-sized permit applications, including new dwellings, small commercial buildings, grading, and additions, remodels and accessory structures.

Starting April 25, applicants with a Pre-Submittal Services-qualifying project can pay $357 up front. The fee is then credited to the cost of the application after the final paperwork is submitted. The total processing time is expected to drop significantly.

Find hours and location information on the agency’s website, www.kingcounty.gov/permits.

Change is coming soon to many schools

March 22, 2011

Carpenter Alfredo Arreola vacuums dust as he grinds and finishes concrete steps in the seating area of Issaquah High School’s new Performing Arts Center. By Greg Farrar

The voter-approved $241.8 million construction bond from 2006 is in full swing, sending two-story buildings high into the sky and installing sewer systems deep into the ground.

Several schools across the Issaquah School District are receiving money for construction updates or remodels. Four projects are slated to begin construction June 20, after school gets out:

• Briarwood Elementary School will get a new building, slated for completion in fall 2012.

• Liberty High School will undergo a partial modernization and expansion, with most areas complete by August 2012, and final completion by spring 2013.

• Maywood Middle School will be modernized and expanded with new classrooms and science labs with completion in August 2012.

• Challenger Elementary School will be modernized with a relocated central office, improved heating and air controls and separate bus and car traffic areas.

Read more

City rolls out updated permitting system

December 21, 2010

The city Building Department has installed a system to streamline the permitting process.

The department transitioned to the system, called TRAKit, Dec. 15. The system allows city employees to respond to customer requests on a timelier basis.

TRAKit is connected to mybuildingpermit.com and allows both systems to seamlessly share information. Officials said the process should make viewing and requesting permits and inspections easier and more convenient.

King County cuts wait times for building permits

November 9, 2010

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.

Mayor unveils proposed 2011 city budget

October 5, 2010

Issaquah leaders plan a slight increase in city spending for next year, as the effects of the recession diminish and large construction projects continue.

Mayor Ava Frisinger has proposed a $30.4 million general fund budget for next year — a minor uptick from the $29.8 million general fund budget approved by the council last December. The proposed budget does not include recommendations for a property tax hike or rate increases. The plan does not cut city positions.

Frisinger characterized the proposed budget as austere, a nod to the uncertain nature of the economic recovery.

“We try to focus on the things that are the core functions of the departments,” she said. “I count on the department directors to tell me which things, if they are not done, are going to have dire consequences.”

The city deferred some maintenance and delayed building upgrades in order to cut costs last year. Frisinger said residents might notice frayed edges at municipal buildings as a result.

Read more

County Council confirms ex-Newcastle city manager as permitting agency chief

May 4, 2010

King County Council members confirmed former Newcastle City Manager John Starbard to lead the county agency responsible for building and land-use permits.

Officials said they hope Starbard can change the Department of Development and Environmental Services — a department Councilman Reagan Dunn described as “the worst-run agency in county government” until now.

The agency issues building and land-use permits for properties in unincorporated King County, enforces county building and land-use codes, issues business licenses and staffs the King County Fire Marshal Division.

County Executive Dow Constantine appointed Starbard to the post March 1, the same day Starbard started at the agency. The appointment required confirmation from the council.

The council discussed the appointment and questioned Starbard at a committee meeting last week, and then sent the confirmation to the full council for approval. The council OK’d the appointment May 3.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »