On Monday, Governor Inslee issued a Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order identifying certain businesses and entities deemed essential services that are to continue operations. The question that has been raised by many is what are essential businesses and who are essential workers?
The Governor provided a list of job types and industries that are considered essential. The following is an excerpt from the OTHER COMMUNITY-BASED GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS AND ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS section of that list:
"Essential Workforce Construction workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction) for all essential facilities, services and projects included in this document, and for residential construction related to emergency repairs and projects that ensure structural integrity. " (**Emphasis added)
What does this mean for DCD operations and my project?The work DCD does is considered essential to the continuity of County functions, our local economy, and other essential businesses identified in Governor Inslee's list. As a result, DCD will continue daily operations. Currently, approximately 80% of the Department is telecommuting, maintaining operations at home during these unprecedented times as a County, State, and nation. Because DCD has fully prepared telecommuters, the Department will continue to take in and review the full spectrum of permits in which we have jurisdiction for unincorporated Kitsap County. The transition to fully online permit application submittal has afforded DCD and those we serve the ability to continue business during this challenging time.
Please note that while we are accepting all permit applications, DCD will prioritize review and only issue permits for projects that are listed as an Essential Business (list linked), tied to new home construction, or emergency repair of an existing structure. This prioritization will be in place until such time as the Governor's order is lifted.
What about inspections?In conformance with Governor Inslee's Executive Orders, inspections in the field will be limited as follows:
Essential business included in the Governor's list will continue to receive inspection services.
Construction activities that will result in the construction of New Single-Family Residences will receive inspection services. This includes Site Development Activity Permits for residential short plats and plats.
Residential construction related to emergency repairs will continue to receive inspection services.
SUSPENDED: Residential inspections related to remodels, additions, upgrades, etc. that require an inspector to enter an occupied home are suspended. **Requests related to life safety concerns for these types of permits can be requested via the open line @ 360-337-5777 and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
A list of residential and commercial building types DCD will be performing inspections is later on in this document.
The restrictions for inspections of occupied homes is to meet the intent of the Governors Executive order, maintain social distancing as prescribed by the U.S. Center of Disease Control for inspectors and occupants of homes, and prevent the spread of COVID-19. A review of all permits issued by DCD shows that the above actions will affect approximately 28% of all permits currently issued. For the permits that are affected by the restriction, DCD will allow extensions and work with contractors to ensure prompt completion once the Stay Safe, Stay Home Order is lifted. DCD is implementing photo re-inspections and virtual inspections next week. This will allow us to offset some of the impacts customers will experience in the near term.
PLEASE NOTE: To minimize the risk to the public and our staff, we are requesting inspectors be allowed to conduct inspections alone. If you choose to be onsite, please be mindful of maintaining the social distance of at least six (6) feet. Our inspectors will be making judgment calls on a site-by-site basis as to whether they will enter a property. They have the discretion to not enter any situation that could place the inspector in an at-risk position.
Labor and Industries is currently not performing inspections during the Governor's two-week Stay Home, Stay Safe order. This will impact some inspections types as DCD cannot approve covering of electrical or finaling of a home without L&I approval. We have no control over, or a way around, this requirement**
What about permit extensions and reactivations? Any permit expiration or extensions needed as a result of COVID-19 work restrictions will be approved without charge.
What about public meetings (Planning Commission & Hearing Examiner)?Currently, we are prepared to proceed with Planning Commission and Hearing Examiner meetings for April. We have incorporated the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines into those meetings as a measure to minimize exposure to staff and the public. This plan, however, could change.
Last night the Governor issued an Emergency Order regarding the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), RCW 42.30, and DCD is working with legal counsel to determine the impact of that Emergency Order on our current plan for public meetings. Please expect a separate communication regarding public meetings once we have guidance from legal.
How long will this continue?That is the question on everyone's mind, and unfortunately, the answer in unknown. What DCD is doing at this point is pushing to create plans for sustained operations. We want to be positioned to continue to provide services to our clients if the Governor directs we must continue in this manner for an extended period.
Essential Building and Residential Projects ListThe list below is the types of projects identified as Essential in accordance with Governor Inslee’s Essential Workers list. DCD will be performing inspections for these projects, as outlined below.
Site Development Activity All Site Development Activity inspections in support of the above mentioned projects. Requests for projects not listed here that are related to life safety concerns can be requested by calling Kitsap1 at 360-337-5777 and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
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