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Addressing Spokane County Building Permit Delays


Over the last several weeks we have heard from many builders about permit processing delays in Spokane County. That’s why Spokane Home Builders Association leadership recently sat down with Spokane County Building and Planning Department officials to discuss issues and possible solutions to these delays as well as how to increase communication between the county and the home building industry.
As with many in our industry, it appears Spokane County government has been hit with numerous issues all at once. From COVID delay to retirements to an influx of permit applications, turnaround time on permits currently sits at 3-5 weeks. While the goal is still to see permits issued within 5-10 days of receipt a current backlog of submissions has yet to be worked through. Encouragingly, the office is adjusting to the situation by implementing a number of strategies to specifically focus on residential construction. Still, with the department processing and average of 40-43 new application permits per day for the last 4 months, and issuing and average 20-23 permits per day in that same time frame, it may take a few weeks to get caught up.
Of note, the county officials relayed to us that they have seen a significantly higher level of submissions compared to last year. This certainly makes sense as we consider pent up COVID delays, market demand, and energy code driven applications. We were also assured that all department staff remain working, albeit some remotely or in slightly different capacities. However, we pressed that demand is unlikely to waiver in coming months as the market remains hot, winter is coming, and many builders will want to get vested under 2015 energy codes prior to the February 1, 2021 code implementation. We will continue to monitor progress and push for solutions to get our industry running smoothly again.
We also talked specifically about the benefits of Master Use Permits for builders able to use the same plan multiple times. By utilizing MUPs, individual applications bypass most of the process and go directly to zoning review. While not applicable to all cases, this presents a significant time-saving opportunity for those entities willing to make use of a Master Use Permit. You can find out more about MUPs here: Multiple Use Plans.
We will continue to advocate for transparency, consistency, and efficiency within and amongst the various jurisdictions in which our members work and we believe that Spokane County is a willing and able partners in this process. Through direct conversations and the Spokane Regional Codes Group (SRCG) we will keep fighting for our members best interest.
To learn more about our work with government jurisdictions, the Spokane Regional Codes Group, or other advocacy efforts, please feel free to contact Isaiah Paine at

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