Planning Director Tim Beals stated he’d had discussions with the Mayor of the City and told her to send a letter to the Board to open up discussions. He didn’t know if the Board wanted to entertain the request, adding routine permits would be an additional level of staff commitment and time, and offered to set up a meeting. Supervisor Peter Huebner said Beals would be taking on more work without any additional staff and he wasn’t in favor of that. If the finance committee could allow an additional person to help he would be ok with it. Beals felt it would be half a position or less and wasn’t sure what the City was capable of paying.
Supervisor Terry LeBlanc felt it was worth talking about, stating a building inspector comes out of Portola when they can find him. He thought it would make for a smoother operation.
Supervisor Paul Roen didn’t want the County responsible for cleaning up messes created because of the lack of oversight. He didn’t have any problem with having a conversation, but added it will be frank.
Supervisor Sharon Dryden stated years ago as a business owner she spoke out against having the City do their own building process, adding they didn’t have the staff to handle that program. Her main concern was the capacity of the County’s building department to handle Loyalton’s problems. She felt they should put the situation on hold.
Board Chair Lee Adams appreciated LeBlanc’s comments and understands the City may have gone down a road it now apparently wished it hadn’t, but the County only has so much capacity and has mandatory things they have to do as a County. He would ask the City to look at other alternatives, like in Reno or Truckee. He hated saying no, but would prefer not doing it. LeBlanc felt with the new board member the City just voted in they could internally work this matter out. He suggested giving the City some education on it. Beals stated they get a lot of calls from Loyalton property owners who are frustrated and concerned about the permit process there. He said the property owners typically request the County to come out and will pay the cost to get records to show due diligence. He said the impacts affect resale, quality of the housing stock, and probably a revenue loss.
Beals called it a big picture item that comes to bear on the Board because of the request, but understood the concerns. Assessor Laura Marshall stated there’s quite a bit of construction going on without a permit, but added it does not require a permit to be assessed.
Adams suggested taking baby steps and have a conversation with the City knowing this may not happen. Dryden was sympathetic with the situation the City is in, but wasn’t willing to have a conversation about taking over their building permit process. She did feel they could help find other options and LeBlanc wanted to at least give them a little advice and ease the burden a bit.
Beals, LeBlanc and Adams will meet with the City.