King County permitting system to go offline during software upgrade

June 26, 2012

Landowners should prepare for a weeklong shutdown at the King County permitting agency, as officials roll out a software upgrade from July 2-8.

What to know

Though the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services cannot process permit applications from July 2-8, other services remain available on days other than July 4:

  • Free technical assistance, 7:30-9:30 a.m. weekdays
  • Records Center assistance, 7:30-9:30 a.m. weekdays
  • Phone Center assistance at 206-296-6600, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays
  • Building and fire inspections may be requested by calling and leaving a voice message at 206-296-6630.
  • Online query, Permits-At-A-Glance, can be accessed as read-only throughout the week.

The planned upgrade coincides with the Independence Day holiday, a slow period for the Department of Development and Environmental Services.

The agency’s Renton office is open during the upgrade except for July 4, but during the week, staffers cannot accept, create or issue permit applications. Cashiers also cannot process financial transactions of any kind.

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.

Staffers can continue to work on existing permitting applications during the shutdown. Then, after the software installation, agency employees can enter additional information.

Once the software is installed, customers can access enhanced online services, such as permit applications, building inspections and other services.

The computer system transition is part of a countywide project to integrate all permitting in various county departments into a single system. Officials said the process is meant to streamline the permitting process and provide customers with easy access to multiple departments for the same project.

“The Fourth of July holiday is historically the week of least demand from our customers, so that’s the best time for technicians to perform computer upgrades,” agency Director John Starbard said in a statement. “I urge residents who need permits from us to plan ahead for this necessary shutdown.”

Come fall, the agency plans to relocate from Renton to offices in Snoqualmie Ridge. Officials said the location change is meant to provide a more central office for residents in unincorporated areas.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

King County permitting system to go offline during software upgrade

June 22, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 22, 2012

Landowners should prepare for a weeklong shutdown at the King County permitting agency, as officials roll out a software upgrade from July 2-8.

The planned upgrade coincides with the Independence Day holiday, a slow period for the Department of Development and Environmental Services. The agency’s Renton office is open except for July 4, but during the week, staffers cannot accept, create or issue permit applications. Cashiers also cannot process financial transactions of any kind.

Staffers can continue to work on existing permitting applications during the shutdown. Then, after the software installation, the agency can enter additional information.

Once the software is installed, customers can access enhanced online services, such as permit applications, building inspections and other services. Read more

Municipal League honors King County Library System, elected officials

April 3, 2012

NEW — 8 p.m. April 3, 2012

Efforts to help people find jobs, learn English and grow small businesses earned the Issaquah-based King County Library System a top honor from the Municipal League of King County.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization recognized the library system as Organization of the Year, and also honored King County Executive Dow Constantine and local state Sen. Steve Litzow, in the 53rd Annual Civic Awards.

Each year, the Municipal League and the Municipal League Foundation present the honors to highlight people and organizations for significant contributions to the community. Organizers plan a Thursday ceremony to honor the recipients.

Constantine earned the James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award for years of public service, efforts to bring a culture of performance to county government, completion of major projects and improved relationships among the county and other jurisdictions.

Read more

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.

King County plans to cut waits for building permits

September 27, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 27, 2010

The long waits for King County environmental and building permits should shrink next month, as the county permitting agency adopts a more user-friendly policy.

Beginning Oct. 18, the county Department of Development and Environmental Services will 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.

Other customers will still have the option to make appointments.

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

County offers free earthquake retrofit permits

April 20, 2010

Some unincorporated King County residents may qualify for free home earthquake retrofit permits if their home has a wood-frame construction, lightweight roof and a reinforced concrete foundation. Other criteria call for the home to be situated on a relatively level lot and two stories or less in height. Find the complete criteria for a free permit at www.kingcounty.gov/property/permits.

Contact Paula Adams at 206-296-6682 to learn more about earthquake retrofit permits.

Free permits can usually be issued over the counter if residents submit a complete application. Homes that do not meet criteria can also receive a permit, but the process takes more time and the applicant must pay permit-review fees.

“I hope more people will take advantage of this important program,” department Director John Starbard said in a news release. “Our region dealt with the impacts of the Nisqually earthquake in 2001 and, although that event was not of the same magnitude as more recent international earthquake disasters, modern building codes minimized the physical and economic damage of the 2001 quake for the benefit of the entire region.”

King County offers free earthquake retrofit permits

April 13, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. April 13, 2010

Some unincorporated King County residents might qualify for free home earthquake retrofit permits.

Residents qualify for a free permit if their home has a wood-frame construction, lightweight roof and a reinforced concrete foundation. Other criteria call for the home to be situated on a relatively level lot and two stories or less in height. Find the complete criteria for a free permit here.

Contact Public information and Records Officer Paula Adams at 206-296-6682 to learn more about earthquake retrofit permits.

Read more

Former Newcastle city manager will oversee county permitting agency

March 16, 2010

John Starbard

John Starbard — the former Newcastle city manager fired by the City Council in January — will spearhead the effort to reform the way King County handles building and land-use permits.

County Executive Dow Constantine appointed Starbard as director of the Department of Development and Environmental Services six weeks after the Newcastle council abruptly terminated his contract without cause. The executive praised Starbard for efforts to upgrade Coal Creek Parkway and remake downtown Newcastle into a pedestrian-friendly destination.

But officials cited issues with the relationship between Starbard and other organizations and residents. Before the council fired Starbard during a Jan. 12 meeting, Newcastle Deputy Mayor Steve Buri said the relationships had “been damaged beyond repair.” Read more

Newcastle City Council fires city manager, cuts more than $1 million from budget

January 13, 2010

NEW — 12:22 a.m. Jan. 13, 2010

At a special Newcastle City Council meeting Tuesday night, the council voted 6-1 to terminate City Manager John Starbard’s contract, effective immediately.

The council appointed Rob Wyman, a former community development director for the city, to take over as interim city manager for the next six months.

During the four-hour meeting, the council also cut more than $1 million of expenses from its 2010 budget. Of those cuts, more than $800,000 was cut from the 2010 capital budget. Newcastle is located within the Issaquah School District.

Read more