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Keep ball rolling, back city leaders
For many years a code in the city permitting process was very burdensome on homeowners and businesses alike. It was rightly named the 25 percent trigger. In simple terms, if improvements were made to any structure that exceeded 25 percent of the value of the structure the entire site had to be brought up to current city codes. Sidewalks, curbs, gutters, utilities and landscape all had to meet current standards.
A number of years ago business leaders attempted to change the code to no avail. Then, about two years ago Mark Clirehugh, with Kidder, Mathews & Segner, and Bob Scholes (retired), formerly owner of ESM Consulting Engineers, started talks again with city government. The Federal Way Chamber of Commerce picked up their lead and facilitated talks with the staff and City Council through the Economic Vitality Committee.
Following exhaustive efforts on all levels, negotiations became very positive and the final result is, the code is changed. Now the 25 percent still applies but the value of the land is included in the formula for all properties under 100,000 square feet. Tenant improvements are now excluded from the formula as long as square footage is not added. Facades and awnings for storefronts are now exempt also.
What does all this mean? It seems all you hear is the city wont listen, no one cares, the permitting process is too difficult in Federal Way and on and on. I personally can attest that the Council and city staff of Federal Way have an open ear and will listen to reasonable solutions to city problems. The Council, City Manager David Moseley, Public Works Director Cary Roe and Community Development Director Kathy McClung, along with their respective departments, will work with and support any effort to improve the city. Over-the-counter permits will be added back during the month of March now. The City Council is currently directing staff action to look at the entire permitting process and waits for recommended changes.
Good things can happen at City Hall and we need to keep the ball rolling and stand behind those that are good decisionmakers. I highly recommend that you get involved you can assist in making a difference in Federal Way.