King County Executive Dow Constantine today appointed former Newcastle City Manager John Starbard to lead reform of the county’s building and land use permitting processes, as the new Director of the Department of Development and Environmental Services.
King County Executive Dow Constantine today appointed former Newcastle City Manager John Starbard to lead reform of the county's building and land use permitting processes, as the new Director of the Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES).
"More than three years ago on the County Council I helped begin the process to reform residential permitting and land use applications within DDES, to bring efficiency and predictability to property owners," said Executive Constantine. "I have directed John to examine the current system and recommend to me ways we can reduce the cycle time for review of permit applications and increase predictability for our customers, without sacrificing our high expectations for quality, safety, and environmental protection."
"I am honored to be able to serve Executive Constantine, and I am looking forward to working with the staff to learn how best to adapt DDES to meet its mission in the future," said Starbard.
As Newcastle City Manager Starbard (pron: star-bard) helped the city achieve its top two priorities: completion of the longstanding goal to widen and improve Coal Creek Parkway, on time and on-budget, and laying the groundwork for transformation of the city's downtown core into an attractive, walkable urban village. After enacting many reforms of city processes, Newcastle went on to receive several recognitions for the first time, including Gov. Gregoire's "Smart Growth Award" for plan implementation, the Government Finance Officers Association "Distinguished Budget Award," and the "Award of Excellence" from the Association of Washington Cities.
Starbard also helped manage the incorporation of the city of Maple Valley, hire the staff, and served as its first city manager. In that position he established many of the administrative systems and plans for the city that are still in place today.
As a planner and senior management analyst for the city of Bellevue, Starbard successfully managed 39 separate annexations to the city, and Executive Constantine said that experience will play an important role as the county looks ahead to the annexation of more urban unincorporated areas into cities, as contemplated under the state Growth Management Act.
"I have asked John to develop a plan for the DDES of the future, one whose mission will evolve as more urban areas are annexed into neighboring cities," said Constantine. "Long-term reform will take time and careful analysis, but John's track record of fostering partnerships and delivering outstanding customer service suggests he is the right person to help us change the way the department does business."
DDES is the King County agency that issues building and land use permits for properties located in unincorporated King County. Its employees enforce county land use and building codes, staff the King County Fire Marshal Division, and issue business licenses. Starbard will manage a budget of nearly $22 million and a staff of about 150.
Starbard, who lives in Kirkland, assumes his duties on March 1. His appointment must be confirmed by the King County Council.