King County Council extends home-building project permits

The Metropolitan King County Council today extended the life of permits for stalled home-building projects by two years, providing some economic stimulus and relief to home builders struggling with financing and slowing demand due to the recession.

“These extensions will allow builders to get their work started without delay once the economy starts to recover,” said Councilman Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor of the ordinance. “Making builders repeat the process because their permits have expired would needlessly delay job creation and stifle housing supply right when we will need it to help propel economic growth.”

The adopted ordinance temporarily extends the validity of preliminary approvals for plats and short plats to seven years from the current five-year period and grants the option for a third extension for building permits where substantial work has not begun. The proposed extension would apply to any plat that received preliminary approval on or after Jan. 1, 2004.

Currently when plats and permits expire, a builder must repeat the permitting process, which can take from six to eight months. With many approved projects put on hold due to the recession, granting extensions of time allows builders to restart projects as soon as the economy picks up, cutting the time in which the construction could create new jobs, add to the housing supply, and provide an overall stimulation to the regional economy.