Jefferson County Community Development Department takes a break


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

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

Butler plans to extend the current permit timelines to reduce the backlog created by the pandemic.

The DCD had more permits in 2020 than any other year on record, which affected how long applicants had to wait, according to a press release from the county.

“Should we extend for two years the permits that would have expired during the pandemic?” He asked. “For a while, people who were making plans might have been afraid to work with others due to issues of exposure to Covid.”

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

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

The planning unit focuses on subject matter expertise in areas such as wetlands, housing, floodplains, planned resorts and mining. Butler plans to match DCD team members experienced in these areas with others for training and mentoring, the statement said.

Community members who have questions about the one-week closure for training or would like to provide feedback on the two-year license extension to coincide with the pandemic can send an email [email protected]


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Norma P. Rex