New building permit fees should reduce costs in county

The Board of Island County Commissioners is set to vote on building permit fee changes, including stock plan review fees that will result in savings for affordable housing developers.

Building Official Andy Griffin proposed Wednesday a fixed fee for plan reviews on permits for homes and buildings using stock plans for structures that have already been built. With stock plans, a developer wanting to build the same type of house multiple times would only have to pay the full fee for a plan review, which is based on the buidling’s value, on the first one. This new fee is being implemented as part of a recent decision by the county to accept stock plans.

“It’s common for us to use either the same house plan or a very similar house plan,” said Orin Kolaitis, chief operating officer for Habitat for Humanity of Island County. “That would be a benefit to use for sure.”

Kolaitis said the most recent house plan review from the county cost the organization $2,755.87. With the new system, that house could be made a stock plan and subsequent homes using those same plans would only have a fixed $350 fee.

Griffin said a fixed fee would also streamline the review process in addition to reducing the cost for the applicant. The amount reflects the staff’s time and work completing plan reviews, but Griffin told commissioners he made sure it would still result in savings for affordable housing developments, which currently pay less for a per-square-foot valuation on plan reviews. A regular home’s plan review fee is charged $112 per square foot, and affordable housing developments are charged $75 per square foot.

“I went through and looked at our fee tables and in all circumstances these would represent big savings on the cost of plan review,” Griffin told the commissioners at the meeting.

Griffin also proposed changes to flood development permit fees, which have remained unchanged since 1981. Anyone doing any type of work in a federally-designated flood zone must pay this fee, which is currently $50 for all projects. He proposed changing this to $25 for non-substantial plumbing, mechanical and deck permits and $100 for all other flood development permits.

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