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County recalculates building permits

Commissioners also increase cost to license dogs

Spokane County commissioners decided Tuesday evening to charge more for dog licenses and change the way building permit fees are calculated.

No one objected. Almost no one was there.

With Bonnie Mager absent, even the commissioners were short-handed.

Effective Jan. 1, dog licenses will go from $20 to $25 for spayed or neutered animals, and from $40 to $50 for others.

The $5 discount for seniors to license a dog will increase to $10.

Nancy Hill, director of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, said the increase will offset a $150,000 reduction in general fund support and will provide uniform rates throughout the county by matching Spokane rates.

The city is planning to join Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Cheney, Millwood and Fairchild Air Force Base in contracting with SCRAPS.

The new building permit fee system will have customers pay by the hour instead of paying a fee based on construction costs.

A Building and Planning Department analysis of a handful of actual projects suggests fees would drop for big jobs and go up for small ones.

The most controversial item on the agenda turned out to be a proposal to add weight restrictions to the Bruce Road bridge over Peone Creek. Farmers Dennis Morissey and Gary Durheim braved slushy roads to complain about that.

Durheim, who lives on Sullivan Road, said he would have to drive his farm equipment seven miles to get across the creek, which runs through his farm.

County Engineer Bob Brueggeman saw little room to change the weight calculation, which already is based on a less-restrictive standard than the state uses. However, he said there may be ways to mitigate the impact of farm equipment – as has been done for fire trucks.

For example, Brueggeman said farm equipment might safely cross with no other vehicle on the bridge, by spreading the load more evenly or by going slower than usual.

Commissioners removed the Bruce Road proposal from a package of bridge-load changes to give Brueggeman time to work out details with area farmers. The other changes were approved.

More than a dozen people turned out for a hearing Monday evening on a proposed zone change to allow a 97-acre gravel mine on Four Mound Road west of Riverside State Park.

Developer Harlan Douglass wants to change the site’s rural conservation zoning to mineral lands. He has said there is a shortage of gravel pits in the area.

Adjacent property owner Isla Durheim and others weren’t satisfied with assurances from Douglass spokesmen. Durheim was especially worried about spring-fed groundwater she uses for her cattle.

“What’s my guarantee from the county that my water’s not going to be lost because of this?” she asked.

Commissioners will deliberate the issue at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8, and accept written testimony until 4 p.m. Monday.