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Fee amnesty program October 2008


DDES offers property owners fee amnesty program for unlawful development (October 1, 2008 through April 1, 2009).


DDES offers property owners fee amnesty program for unlawful development (October 1, 2008 through April 1, 2009)

Property owners in unincorporated King County who did building, clearing or grading work without the required permit have a chance to bring their property into compliance with the legal code and avoid the usual penalty fees.

King County is offering penalty fee amnesty for the next six months so property owners with illegal construction or clearing and grading activity can engage the permit review process at DDES and still pay the standard permit fees. Title 27 of the King County Code authorizes DDES to double permit fees charged for construction, clearing, or grading activity conducted without permits in the unincorporated area. To be eligible for the program, the unpermitted activity must have occurred prior to October 1, 2008 and a complete permit application must be filed with DDES by April 1, 2009.

"The permit process is designed to protect public health, homeowner safety, and the environment," said Stephanie Warden, DDES Director. "This is a positive way to encourage property owners with unlawful development to legalize construction and partner with King County government to improve their property."

In the past, other counties have seen deck collapses resulting in injury and even death after the original structure was built without permits. Similarly, structures built in areas susceptible to heavy snows are required to sustain specific snow loads in order to prevent collapse. A more common example of unpermitted activity is a garage illegally converted into living space. Unpermitted development can also cause problems during the pending sale of a home.

Property owners securing permits after activity has occurred are still required to comply with all provisions of King County development regulations, e.g., clearing and grading, critical areas, building and fire codes, and Health Department regulations for septic and well designs.

If you know you have unlawful development

Property owners who know that construction has occurred on their property without permits should contact the DDES Permit Center at 206-296-6600 to inquire about the permit application process (this scenario is known as already-built construction, or an ABC permit). Permit application materials for ABC permits are available on the DDES Web site at The materials packet will explain the required steps and review process for ABC permits. Property owners wanting to address illegal clearing or grading on their property should contact the DDES Site Development Services section at 206-296-6759.

As noted above, the DDES Fee Amnesty Program for unpermitted construction and grading will remain in effect until April 1, 2009. For additional information, please contact Paula Adams, DDES Public Information and Records Officer, at 206-296-6682.