Development Services feeling weight of building boom

Bellevue's latest building boom brought Development Services Director Mike Brennan before the City Council on Monday to request additional staffing to tackle increasingly high volumes of building permits and shore up resource deficiencies.

The council approved 24 Development Services staffing positions in late 2013, but Brennan said two more are needed to prevent the department from losing pace with increases in building permit applications, which could affect customer satisfaction with the city. The council approved the positions, the cost of which will be paid through permitting fees.

"The work is most definitely there, right now," said Mayor Claudia Balducci. "It's always interesting when the cranes fly, and we're going to see a lot more of that."

Security Properties is starting development on a 316-unit residential development within the growing Spring District, which will coincide with Wright Runstad's office project.

Soma has obtained occupancy for its first downtown tower and will soon start on a second, said Gregg Schrader, city building official. Goodman Real Estate also is moving into its second phase of multifamily construction at the old Angelo's Nursery site.

Larger upcoming projects like Sound Transit's East Link extension and Puget Sound Energy's Energize Eastside project also will add to the department's workload, Schrader said.

Brennan said staffing is only one facet of Development Service's goals, looking at about a five-year window for strategic planning. Additional service training and other performance management strategies will also be used to ensure developers and other customers remain relatively satisfied with the process.


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