County initiative speeds project reviews, construction
Snohomish County’s efforts to speed up permit processing for complex projects, allowing those projects to move forward with construction more quickly, is showing immediate results. Since launching Project Catalyst in February, timelines for project reviews have already been cut by more than 25%.
Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon announced in February during his annual State of the County Address the creation of “Project Catalyst,” a fresh approach to reducing the regulatory burden of obtaining permits for a broad variety of projects working their way through the county’s planning department.
“The goal of Project Catalyst is twofold: to spur additional economic activity this year as well as to create a new baseline for complex projects at half the current timeline,” Reardon said. “We recognize that in today’s financial climate, the speed with which a project can move from concept to build-out is critical.”
The additional efforts by Planning and Development Services staff at this time of year will result in issued permits for a variety of development projects at the beginning of the optimum construction season. The planning department is utilizing a combination of targeted overtime, borrowed staff resources and critical path analysis.
“Minimizing the uncertainty of permitting in a development project’s timeline allows project proponents to focus on other aspects of a project, including financing, purchasing, and hiring,” said PDS Director Clay White.
“Seven years ago, we set about speeding up the process by which projects were approved, becoming one of the fastest jurisdictions in the region,” Reardon said. “With a short-term, targeted use of permitting resources, contractors will be able to go to work on an additional 70-plus projects during the 2011 building season, meaning more construction workers with jobs in Snohomish County this summer.”