Council discusses building permit deadlines

The Bonney Lake City Council discussed a proposed ordinance that would revise the deadline for permit applications from 180 days to one year, with one 180-day extension.

The Bonney Lake City Council discussed a proposed ordinance that would revise the deadline for permit applications from 180 days to one year, with one 180-day extension.

During a Feb. 3 City Council Workshop, Building Official Jerry Hight told the council current regulations have become “prohibitive,” given the current economic climate.

Hight said the expiration of building permits was changed from one year to two years, with one two-year extension.

“We are extending the length of time the permit is active,” Hight said.

The proposed ordinance, which was presented to the Council in July, would not allow permits to be active beyond one code cycle. The changes would extend the permit life to five and one-half years maximum (one and one-half year maximum for permit applications and four years maximum for active permits).

The current city code allows permits to extend indefinitely as long as they remain active. Hight said codes do not normally change much each cycle, but they can be drastically altered after a such events as an earthquake.

Council members discussed how the ordinance would affect builders and homeowners. Hight told the council permits may only remain active if required inspections occur every 180 days so the builder must be actively working in order for permits to continue and receive and extension.

Council members David Bowen and Dan Decker were concerned that the four-year limit would affect those who are constructing their own homes and take several years for completion.

Hight noted a vast majority of homes are built within four to six months and individuals may take one of two years to build their own homes.

The few who take longer than four years are an exception.

Hight said setting the four-year limit protects builders, because if a permit expires the builder must re-apply and the new application must meet the current codes. If the city allows a permit to extend two cycles, it could be very costly for a builder to bring the project up to code.

“They can only ask for an extension on an active permit, then it extends it two years,” Hight said. “At the end of the two years, the permit is expired and they have to submit new plans and pay new fees.”

He said the Master Builder’s Association supports the proposed ordinance. He said it’s important not to allow permits extend beyond one code cycle to ensure public safety and compliance.

Council member Mark Hamilton said he supports anything to help people in the building trade get back to work.

Council member James Rackley said the Community Development Committee would review possible exceptions and other revisions at its next meeting.

Rackley favors passing the proposed ordinance.

In other action, the council formed an ad hoc committee to work on the naming policy for city parks and facilities.

Named to the committee were Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman, Councilwoman Laurie Carter and Rackley.

City Administrator Dan Morrison said the item came before the Park Board in January and minor changes were added since then.

Mayor Neil Johnson suggested the Historial Society have input in the naming process when the Park Board begins its review.

Swatman said he was against naming any park or facility after an elected city official.

Carter, who noted Viking Park was named by public school students, suggested a section of the ordinance could be revised to address Swatman’s concern by allowing specific features to be named, rather than an entire park or facility.

The council took action on building heights, naming policy for facilities and parks, adoptions of new parking stall dimensions and naming the city owned right-of-way at the intersection of Church Lake Road, Sumner-Buckley Highway and Locust Avenue.

Reach Dannie Oliveaux at doliveaux@courierherald.com or 360-802-8209.

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