Vancouver, WA ̶- (RealEstateRama) — The Board of County Councilors last week approved adding nine positions in Community Development to help meet increased building and development activity spurred by the improved economy.

Additional staff is needed to serve the steadily growing number of people seeking building and remodeling permits, site development approvals and engineering on larger projects. With the nine, Permit Center waiting times should decrease, some contracted engineering work will be brought in-house, and inspections and plan reviews will move more quickly, said Marty Snell, Community Development director.

The positions ‒ three building inspectors, two plans examiners, one structural engineer, two permit technician assistants and one land use planner ‒ could be filled by mid-year.

According to Community Development records, requests for plan reviews, for example, have grown quickly. In 2011 when the national and local economies were emerging from the Great Recession, the county received 1,443 plan review requests. By the end of this year, that number is projected to have doubled to 2,875.

The healthier economy means more people are seeking the services of the Permit Center in the Public Service Center, Snell said. In 2012, 13,630 applicants waited an average of 8½ minutes before being served. Last year, however, 21,600 applicants waited more than 24 minutes ‒ an average that was expected to rise by two minutes this year without additional staff.

Adding three building inspectors means more projects will be inspected more quickly. Hiring a structural engineer means some engineering work will stay in-house rather than be sent to consultants and project oversight will be more efficient, Snell said.

All nine positions will be supported by permit fees.

Marty Snell
Community Development
(360) 397-2375 ext. 4101
marty.snell (at) clark.wa (dot) gov

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