Jefferson County Department of Community Development to take hiatus

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Department of Community Development will be closed this week and will reopen on Sept. 20 for staff development, team building and training.

Department of Community Development (DCD) Director Brent Butler said that the closure is “the beginning of a multi-year effort to educate, mentor, re-energize and retool the department, making it more customer-oriented.”

Butler is considering extending current permit deadlines to ease the backlog created by the pandemic.

DCD had more permits in 2020 than any other year on record which impacted the amount of time applicants had to wait, a press release from the county said.

“Should we extend permits that would have expired during the pandemic for two years?” he posed. “For a time, people who were doing projects might have been frightened to work with others because of Covid exposure issues.”

A self-certification process is being considered for permits for life-safety issues, Butler said.

It will allow inspectors to certify some permits by photo or video rather than having staff travel to on-site inspections.

The Planning Unit’s focus is on subject matter expertise in areas including wetlands, housing, floodplain, master planned resorts and mining. Butler plans to pair DCD team members experienced in these areas with others for training and mentoring, the release said.

Community members with questions about the week-long closure for training or who wish to provide comment on extending permits for two years to coincide with the pandemic can email [email protected]

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