Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon has signed an ordinance in support of Project Catalyst – a targeted effort to speed permitting for development projects that put people to work in Snohomish County.
“In today’s business world, speed is critical to investors,” Reardon said. “Project Catalyst is one more effort that shows investors why Snohomish County is the most competitive place to grow their business and create jobs.”
Already, Project Catalyst has resulted in permits issued for a variety of development projects in time for the peak of construction season. Since December, Project Catalyst has reduced the queue for projects by nearly two-thirds and cut review times by more than 50 percent.
Local builders have expressed their support for Reardon’s commitment to streamlining processes.
“We’ve seen the recession and staffing cutbacks lead to costly slowdowns in other jurisdictions,” said Lynn Eshleman, president of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. “Executive Reardon understands that government needs to be a partner to create jobs in our community. Project Catalyst has been a shot in the arm and shows that he is dedicated to business investment and job growth in Snohomish County.”
Project Catalyst, unveiled by Reardon during his annual State of the County Address, allows the county’s Planning and Development Services to utilize a combination of targeted overtime, additional staff resources and critical path analysis to speed up the permit process for complex projects, allowing those projects to move forward with construction more quickly.
“This effort is all about being competitive and attracting job growth,” Reardon said. “The quicker companies have permits in hand, the sooner they can put people back to work building projects or expanding their business.”
The Snohomish County Council formally gave its support for Reardon’s proposal last week by approving an ordinance detailing additional funding for the targeted staffing resources called for in Project Catalyst. The project is supported by fees charged to developers and has no impact on the county’s General Fund.
The additional resources mean that speed can be achieved without decreasing the quality of the review, ensuring that projects are built to code and proper standards. To date, actual overtime expenditures for Project Catalyst have been less than budgeted, meaning the program has been even more efficient than initially anticipated.
“We have worked very hard during the past seven years to become the fastest and most competitive area in the region,” Reardon said. “Project Catalyst shows once again our commitment and creativity.”