• Development Officials Forum Recap

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    Last Friday at our virtual Development Officials’ Forum, eight different jurisdictions around Pierce County signed on to share their latest staffing concerns, permitting timelines, and efficiencies gained through working from home during COVID. A common theme, of course, was the abundance of applications ahead of the February 1st building code changes. To read about each jurisdiction’s presentation, see below:
    Pierce County
    • Busy with an application influx because of the state building code changes that went into effect: 1,700 applications received ahead of February 1st.
    • Utilizing third party reviewers and overtime to keep up with the application load.
    • Busy with inspections: seeing as many as 150 a day.
    • The front-loaded plat program is working well, and the County is able to offer 7-to-10 day turnarounds there.
    Tacoma
    • Application volumes are way up: the City has currently received 50% of the volume in multifamily permits from last year and 25% from single family permits.
    • 85% of permits for residential are being issued in 11 weeks.
    • The City is looking to hire inspectors and administrators to stay on top of the workload.
    • Exploring expedited review programs.
    • Still working remotely and implementing a new plan for doing virtual “over the counter” meetings.
    Lakewood
    • Focusing on keeping up with established residential and commercial timelines (4 weeks for a new single-family application.)
    • At 50% capacity for staff and trying to hire a new plans examiner and inspector. A new building inspector is soon to be hired.
    • Sharing work in house (inspectors doing plan reviews) to keep up with application load. Also sending things to third party reviewers.
    • Have gained efficiencies despite COVID: allowing for pictures for some inspections.
    Puyallup
    • Generally good with review timelines, though the City slipped a little in February to 5-6 week turnaround times.
    • Looking to hire new plans reviewers.
    • Working on making the City’s new permitting software fit the needs of the City.
    • 100% electronic now.
    Edgewood
    • Saw an influx in new applications in January, though this slowed down in February.
    • Looking to increase staff to keep up with all the work.
    • Seeing a lot of townhome and mixed-use apartment applications.
    University Place
    • The City is up to speed on new single-family permits (remodeling permits are 3-4 weeks behind).
    • Inspections are on track and the City can keep up with next day inspections.
    • Implementing InterGov as their new permitting software (still in the beta testing period).
    • Recently seeing a lot of interest in multifamily development because of their form-based code legislation last year.
    Gig Harbor
    • Received over 800 applications in 2 weeks ahead of the building code update.
    • Seeing a 2-week turnaround for base plans.
    • Offering same day inspections and virtual inspections depending on the type.
    • Staffing shortages have contributed to some internal slowdowns.
    Bonney Lake
    • Saw a rush of applications ahead of the code changes.
    • Working on projects in the East Towne area.
    • Key retirements are coming up and this is just the beginning of the wave.
    • Staff focusing on applications, code enforcement on pause for the time being.
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