Skip to main content
Most King County offices will be closed on July 4, for Independence Day.  
King County logo

News

King County Executive
Dow Constantine


New “over-the-counter” permitting at DDES will enable walk-in, one-day service beginning Oct. 18

Summary

The weeks-long wait for review of many environmental and building permits in King County will soon be a thing of the past. Beginning Monday, October 18, the county’s Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) will provide expedited, one-day or “over the counter” review processes for many permit types.

Story

The weeks-long wait for review of many environmental and building permits in King County will soon be a thing of the past. Beginning Monday, October 18, the county’s Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) will provide expedited, one-day or “over the counter” review processes for many permit types.

“It doesn’t make sense for someone who needs a quick oil change to have to wait in line behind someone who needs their engine rebuilt,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “This change brings that same logical approach to our permitting services, and will save our customers time, money, and aggravation.”

Under the guidance of the Executive’s reform agenda, a team of front-line employees and supervisors jointly designed the streamlined process by which customers who need a simple permit will be able to walk into DDES without an appointment, submit an application, and obtain their permit on the same day.

“It has been awkward to talk to people about our ‘over-the-counter’ permits when they have to wait weeks and weeks for an appointment just to get to the counter,” said DDES Director John Starbard. “This is part of the reforms we’re making at DDES to make our services easier, more accessible, and more predictably-priced.”

Permits that can be obtained “over-the-counter” beginning on Monday, October 18, will include small residential remodels, tenant improvements to commercial spaces, building additions, decks, seismic retrofits, and many others. Appointments will still be required for complex development proposals.

Customers who prefer to make an appointment in advance will still have that option.

DDES offered walk-in permit services in the past, but in the late 1990’s the department was compelled to move to an appointment system due to a surge in construction and other permitting activity. Starbard says the current lower volume of permit applications and a smaller customer base due to annexations and incorporations makes it possible to return to a walk-in system for many permit types.

Jarrod Lewis, DDES Assistant Supervisor for the Planning and Customer Services Section, said front-line employees leveraged their practical, daily experience in processing these kinds of permits to create a new, more streamlined, efficient and effective system.

“It has been very rewarding to see our staff come together and develop service improvements that enable us to work more efficiently while also truly benefitting our customers,” he said.

Starbard announced the redesigned permitting process at today’s meeting of the Metropolitan King County Council’s Committee of the Whole.



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography