Building department ready to go

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Effective Nov. 30, Teller County will no longer provide building services for Woodland Park. That revelation, from the county commissions a couple of months ago left the city with the task of creating a building department of its own. In those two months, City Planning Director Sally Riley and her staff in the Woodland Park Planning Department have done just that through an agreement with Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, joining seven other communities that use their services: unincorporated El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, Fountain, Palmer Lake and Monument.

As one of its last steps toward setting up the department, at its Nov. 7 council meeting Woodland Park City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. The city will provide office space and equipment and one half-time permit technician. All operating costs, including the half-time employee’s salary, will be paid through building permit and inspection fees. Pikes Peak Regional Building will operate the department and provide two inspectors, who will be on hand in Woodland Park four hours a day five days a week, to start.

“If construction picks up and we need more inspectors and longer hours, we’ll add them,” said Pikes Peak Regional Building Official Henry Yankowski.

As part of the agreement, Woodland Park will establish a board of appeals to handle building and construction questions. Regional building will provide legal counsel for the appeals board. The city will also set fees for commercial and residential building permits and adopt, with a few minor modifications, the 2011 Pikes Peak Regional Building Code, the 2009 International Building Code and several other building codes.

“The codes are structured such that we can avoid most appeals; modifications are allowed at times,” Yankowski said. “Some of the fees will be higher than Colorado Springs’ fees but lower than Teller County’s.”

The council approved, on first reading, the ordinance adopting the new codes and creating the board of appeals and set Nov. 21 for the public hearing. The resolution setting fees was handed out at the Nov. 7 meeting for the council to look over before making a final decision, also at that Nov. 21 meeting. If the ordinance and fee structure are approved at that time, they will be retroactive to Nov. 4 so that permits can be issued as soon as Nov. 8.

When asked why the city will also retain its board of adjustment, Riley explained that the board of adjustment only deals with zoning questions while the new board of appeals deals only with construction and building-code issues.

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