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Upsurge in the Building Industry

Having successfully secured dozens of shoreline and other critical areas permits over the last 10 years, Pelletier + Schaar consider it our directive to constantly educate ourselves and our clients to effectively understand and navigate the myriad of complex regulations.


As you undoubtedly know, our area is just one in the country that is experiencing a tremendous upsurge in the building industry. The demand for single family residences, as well as commercial and multi-family projects, has created a serious backlog in all industry related services including permitting, consulting, material availability, and construction.

Counties and cities reduced employees during the recession and many have not staffed up enough to serve the booming economy. The unfortunate result is slow permitting and other approvals. Many areas are dealing with the biggest permit backlog in their history. According to The National Association of Home Builders, the median delay in the U.S.A. was seven months in 2015, compared to four months in 2011. It has not improved in 2016. The current work load will only be exacerbated by summer vacations in the next few months.

Though we think of Camano Island as primarily residential, we are part of Island County and subject to regulations and coordination through the county seat in Coupeville. They also process commercial and multi-family projects on Whidbey Island as well as custom homes on Camano. Part of the equation is the apartment and condo building boom. These projects are more complex and take longer to approve. That, in turn, holds up permit applications for smaller projects.

Additionally, the new 2016 Shoreline Management Act regulations are being implemented. Educating staff and the public, as well as developing new internal systems to deal with the changes have impacted land use processes and caused obvious delays. Coupled with changing staff, being under staffed, and reduced hours open to the public have all added to the frustration of getting information and approvals needed for permits.

Snohomish County is experiencing all the same changes and is also the fastest growing county in the state – exponentially affecting delays.

If your project is in Seattle, though one of the better prepared and more organized institutions to work with, the backlog equals about four months just to get an appointment to submit an application!

As the protection of our limited natural resources becomes more and more important, we continue to work towards providing the balance that allows our clients to realize their dreams while honoring some of the most beautiful natural resources in our area.

We hope this information helps you understand the current industry climate, the potential delays your project may be subject to and sadly, frustrations you may experience along the way. Patience is the key.

We invite you to work through the process together with us.

We appreciate you and want you to know how important your project is to us. Thank you for choosing Pelletier + Schaar.



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