The city of Spokane is delaying “nonurgent building inspections” until a later date, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some inspections, however, will be conducted virtually, via videoconferencing, and some will be left to the inspectors’ discretion while following social distancing rules, says Kirstin Davis, communications manager for the city’s neighborhood and business services division.
While some inspections will be delayed, the city’s development services center remains open. Located on the third floor of City Hall, at 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., the permitting office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Even so, the city is encouraging builders and others seeking project approval to communicate by phone and via email when possible.
“It’s that delicate balance of making sure that we’re being careful with our staff and pushing things through as quickly as possible,” Davis says.
Prior to the pandemic, the city had been developing tools to provide more permit and inspection services online. Since then, it has accelerated those efforts, she says.
Other government offices disclosed plans to restrict physical public access temporarily.
Spokane County announced it will move the customer service centers for its treasurer’s, auditor’s, and assessor’s offices to a virtual format starting Thursday, March 19, and lasting until May 1. According to the county, those three services share a lobby entrance in the Spokane County Courthouse that can attract up to 500 people a day. All three offices will be fully staffed and will serve people by email or phone.
At the state level, the Washington Department of Revenue announced plans to close its offices to the public starting Wednesday, March 18, with plans to reopen April 1. The department contends all in-person services are available online, and its call centers will operate full time during business hours.
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