November 1, 1999
Budget documents from the Bellevue hearing reveal that it's proposed to increase permit base fees by 50% when permits involve sensitive areas (most do nowadays), and to increase permit fees 5% this January and another 5% the following January. The North Bend speaker wondered aloud whether this is to circumvent having a public vote on those increases if I-695 passes, and whether those automatic increases, which far exceed the inflation rate, would be canceled if I-695 fails. (Wanna bet there's no cancellation?)
The department and Environmental Services (DDES) charges fees of $120/hour on top of base fees, with environmental requirements. Reviews for as little as a kitchen remodeling permit for a house on a parcel with even one small damp area nearly always result in the landowner having to record land-lockup open space that benefits the public, not the landowner. There's no incentive for DDES to cap regulations or cure inefficiency or hire qualified new staff because make-work and inefficiency add up to more income for DDES.
Tell your King County Council member that applicants for permits should pay a reasonable base fee, with the benefiting public picking up the rest. DDES needs limits, and landowners need affordable permits.
Maxine Keesling, Woodinville