Permit Survey Report

In the spirit of helping to create more affordable and workforce housing in Jefferson County, the Permitting Housing Action Team of HSN has put together a Permit Survey Report. The report is based on the findings of our survey, which received 100 responses between April – July 2020.

Both Jefferson County and the City of Port Townsend declared housing emergencies well before the pandemic, and the pandemic has only made the housing crisis worse. We recognize that the housing emergency is a complex issue. We also recognize that the real and perceived barriers to building is a major obstacle in our community-wide efforts to address the housing emergency. Up until this point, complaints about the permitting process had been merely anecdotal, which is why we decided to create the Permit Survey. The survey findings have created a body of information that demonstrates the consistent challenges that citizen customers have experienced when trying to build homes and housing in Jefferson County.

Our team is currently working with City and County officials to develop a better understanding of the issues and procedures that have caused real and perceived barriers to building new housing units, and to address these barriers. With the current stress on our existing housing stock, this is a time make real change. We hope this Permit Survey Report is the beginning of change in the planning and building process. To be clear, we expect everyone to change, not just the planning and building departments. Citizen customers will have to change too.

We call upon everyone – to join us in expecting more from ourselves as citizen customers and more from our City and County planning and building officials. We ask the leaders in our City and County governments to make more use of the strong talent that exists in this county that is outside the formal leadership structure. Changes need to happen quickly and with a real sense of urgency that reflects the pandemic’s impact, which so many of our fellow citizens feel at this time. We recognize that budget and staff time are limited. This reinforces the need for creative thinking that enables our people to work smarter, not harder, and improve the flow, costs, and timeliness of permitting with the incentive to create the additional housing units that Port Townsend and Jefferson County need.

We are presently engaged in open, respectful conversations with both the City of Port Townsend and Jefferson County about the findings of the Report and strategizing how to move toward solutions.

Thank you for taking the time to read this work,

Permitting Housing Action Team
Housing Solutions Network