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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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April 7, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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April 7, 2010
 

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2A Wednesday, April 7, 2010 Feather River Bulletin I uil ! nnln Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plurnasnews.com Plumas County department heads dealing with building and related permitting issues met with contractors at a re- cent Plumas County Econom- ic Recovery Committee meet- ing to talk about measures taken to make permitting processes more efficient and the possibility of lowering de- velopment fees in the future. County Planning Director Randy Wilson opened the dis- cussion at the Wednesday, March 31, meeting with a pre- sentation on changes the county has made to speed up the permitting process. He told the contractors and PCERC members he had been meeting with the directors of the environmental health, public works and building de- partments every two weeks for the last two yeats. Wilson said all four depart- ments now looked at building permits right away so they could all work on_ potential is- sues in their respective areas at once instead of one at a time. He also indicated the de- partment were preparing for the possibility of a sudden in- crease in permits ff the econo- my improves. The director commented the first phase of such a sce- nario, dealing with more work while staffing levels were still reduced, might re- sult in the planning depart- ment hiring a consultant. The consultant would deal with the increased permit flows, allowing the depart- ment to continue focusing on the general plan update process. The director also said some staff could be reassigned to different duties to deal with changing conditions. Wilson told the crowd per- mits were the top priority right now along with the general plan, as the county wanted to encourage economic activity. | The Plumas County Economic Recovery Committee achieved one of its highest turnouts to date, as local contractors took an opportunity to talk to county depart- ment heads and County Administrative Officer Jack Ingstad about ways local government can help the building industry. Photo by Joshua Sebold He said the departments re- lated to building were keeping "On the positive side the idea is that you establish a relationship in contact with their counter- parts in other counties to and a familiarity with that project." monitor economic trends and hopefully see any changes John Cunningham, Building Director coming. The director also encour- Building Director John with different opinions on how aged people to talk about a Cunningham responded somethings should be done. project before getting to the counties took that approach, Cunningham said consis- point of turning in a permit but he didn't like it. tency among staff members application so problems could "On the positive side thewas always a goal but "it's al- be identified before they dedi- idea is that you establish a re- most not possible." cated a lot of money to an idea lationship and a familiarity He said his staff met every that might not be feasible, with that project." month to talk about the issue He also explained clarity "That's what I liked about and complaints from cus- was a point of emphasis, and it," the contractor replied, tomers were examined with the departments were collabo- "That can be a good thing." solutions found in a democra- rating to make applications Cunningham agreed before tic manner, "with the excep- more clear in the short term, continuing, "It can also be a tion I maintain veto power if I while planning was focusing bad thing if the relationship totally disagree." on making the General Plan doesn't work well." The director told the audi- and zoning code more user Cunningham contended ence a decision was made on friendly in the current updat- everyone on his staff brought each topic, and everyone was ing process, a different perspective and he supposed to enforce the rule In the question and answer subscribed to what General uniformly afterwards. session that followed the pre- Electric calls a "four eyes pol- He also explained the coun- sentation, one contractor said icy, where two sets of eyes ty used to be split up geo- he did a project in Lassen werelooking at everything." graphically so you would get County several years before He said plan checking andthe same inspector most of and the plan checkers there field inspections were two dif- the time if you worked in one were the same people who did ferent skill sets and some peo- area, but with the loss of staff on-site inspections, pie liked combining them but in the down economy that was he was currently leaning in now impossible. the other direction. The contractor thai ked The contractor said his other Cunningham for his explana- issue was that long-term pro- tions. jects would often have different One builder said he'd been people doing field inspections working in the Chester area DQQ Small Flavor Burst Ice Cream Cone with any order over $10 Expires 4/21/10 Hours 11am 8pm 7 days a week 2043 Highway 70 Quincy 283 2660 F I HOSPITAL 1177 i : ..... DISTRICT Cheryl Pini Registered Nurse, MICN Cheryl is extremely flexible and competent. She works in Emergency Services and Med-Surg, and has recently increased her responsibilities to assist Dr. Dhond. Cheryl provides fantastic nursing skills everywhere she goes. She can be counted on to step up to the plate whenever she is needed. Cheryl trains her peers and is always reliable. Congratulations Cheryl Pini! Plumas District Hospital Employee of the Month March 2010 New & Renewal Dave Lake's School offers classes, firearms sales, personal instruction and advice. Concealed classes offered every other month! Certified for Plumas, Sierra, Lassen Counties, soon we're up to a million and then we're talking a lot of po- sitions and huge impacts to the community. "When we lay off people a lot of people say 'well they're government workers' but for over 30 years and thought they're still workers that the small commercial permit spend money in your store, fee was "pretty exorbitant." add additions to their homes, County Administrative Of- so they help the economy too. ficer Jack Ingstad told the "Whether they're govern- builder Cunningham talked to ment, Forest Service workers, him about the fee numerous whatever, they're a big part of times, and they both agreed it our local economy." should be looked at. Severale contractors volun- "The difficulty is when I teered to work on a presenta- came we were almost at three tion to give to the budget corn- million in permit fees in the mittee. building department and now The CAO said the county were down to, what are you was also working on a user estimating next year?" friendly website. "I'm not willing to say right "We've taken the approach now," Cunningham respond- that its not going to be a gov- ed, causing the room to erupt ernment website, it's going to in laughter, be a portal for whatever "He's dropping about 50 you're looking for. percent every time I talk to Earlier in the meeting, Wil- him," Ingstad explained, son said the planning and "Now would be an easier building website had been time to address it because the worked on a lot to make the impact on the general fund General Plan update process would be even less and we did transparent and this website take away the impact fees." w Qulfl be combined with ~kThe.~bui-lder:agreed~aking the county's for maximum away the impact fees helped convenience .... in some areas, but said the One contractor commented, SCP fee for a small storage "I think any process and any structure could be as large as government can probably the fee on a house sometimes, have an increase in efficiency "Well if you can put togeth- but having come from a er a group of people, now is much, much, larger county I the perfect time to do it," In- can tell you that working here gstad told him. is a pleasure compared to He went on to suggest some something like Las Angeles or of the contractors form a being involved with postal group to meet with Cunning- permits. ham and bring the issue to the "It's phenomenal to know county budget committee, someone actually answers the "We received $8,000 this phone when you call. payment when we normally Further articles on other Utah and Nevada. 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