Let’s talk about a house flipping headache! We just closed on this beautiful craftsman home, but the backyard hill cost me $40K more than what I was expecting. Why? Permits, Permits, Permits! Don’t get caught sleeping. Do your homework, because a 6-month delay on your next project can end up costing you too!
What Is an ECA?
Washington state law requires local governments to designate Environmentally Critical Areas (ECA), to help manage the impacts of development in sensitive areas. In our city, ECAs fall into five different categories: wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, geologic hazard areas, flood prone areas, and abandoned landfills. An occasional review is part of the requirements. This review allows updates to the ECA regulations that account for the best available science. Seattle went through this process in 2015-17 with the updated rules going into effect on May 15, 2017. Each type of designation requires a permitted variance, or exemption, for any development to go forward. Permit reviews and the planning they require can add significant time to the preparations before any building or landscaping project may begin. Homeowners should factor this time into their projects’ timelines and get started early.
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