It’s hard to believe how quickly 2016 is going for us at the new Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. Our hard work continues and most of the core functions of the previous Department of Planning and Development (DPD) remain part of our work at SDCI: permitting, construction inspections, code compliance, tenant protections, rental housing registration and inspections, and code development. Permit levels and the number of code complaints remain at robust levels.
Through our work we are implementing Mayor Murray’s vision for Seattle: We want our city to be safe and secure for all. We want our city to be affordable for all, and to provide opportunities for people of all backgrounds to live in the city, raise a healthy family, and lead a productive, fulfilling life. We all want our city to be vibrant, with clean and healthy communities, active livable neighborhoods, and a thriving economy that grows from the middle out. We want an interconnected city, where people and goods can move from place to place safely and sustainably and without being bottled up in traffic. And we want an innovative, accountable city government that delivers on its public commitments smartly and transparently, while harnessing the power of technology.
One of our major initiatives this year will be to launch the Permitting, Regulation, Enforcement and Property Project (PREP), our major initiative to ensure an innovative, accountable city government. In late 2016 PREP will implement a new system—Accela—that will replace our current permit tracking system (Hansen) and many of the Department’s existing Web applications. The system will track all permitting, code compliance and property management processes. This is a huge and important undertaking for the Department and will improve the efficiency in which you can track permits. I also encourage you to check out Shaping Seattle, our website that allows you to easily track all of the design review projects in Seattle.
2016 will also see the completion of the registration phase of the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) program and implementation of new tenant protections. The Mayor recently sent new tenant protection legislation to City Council, and after stakeholder involvement we are also looking at small changes to the RRIO program. We are now a city of more renters than homeowners. Our goal is that these initiatives will improve the conditions in Seattle’s rental stock, and will implement the Mayor’s vision of a safe and secure place for all and a city that is affordable for all.
I am thrilled to welcome Sam Assefa, the new Director of the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD), to the City. Together we will work on the Mayor’s vision for a vibrant Seattle, with clean and healthy communities. We will work closely together on implementation of the Mayor’s Housing and Livability Agenda recommendations, including improvements to the Design Review process and increasing residential transit options for new development.
Finally, as a new Department and with a new director, we at SDCI are resetting the mission, vision and core values of our organization. This year we will complete a new strategic plan for the Department.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Nathan Torgelson, Director
As stewards and regulators of land and buildings, we preserve and enhance equity, livability, safety, and health of our communities.
Our 2015 Annual Report covers our permiting activity, code compliance work, and department highlights.