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Supes place time limits on building permits

The Plumas County Board of Supervisors met Dec. 6 to tackle time limits for development permits and agricultural land permit exemptions.

Building permits are currently good for only two years. However, builders can get a six-month time extension for good reason, as agreed to by the building department.

The problem had been that people were issued building permits and then haven’t gotten around to building their structure for years, if at all.

Paperwork on these old permits clogs up the offices of the building department and buildings have been built that were out of compliance with current codes.

No one spoke at the meeting in opposition and the Board voted unanimously to establish a two-year shelf life for building permits.

The Board decided to delay its decision on whether to do away with free building permits for agricultural storage building on agricultural land of 20 acres or more.

According to Jim Green, Plumas County building official, no-fee permits for agricultural buildings on 20 acres or more were intended for building barns, tractor sheds, etc.

Green advised that people were starting to believe that any kind of building could be built on agricultural land of more than 20 acres.

Green was concerned about the fairness of the current situation. For instance, a person with 20 acres or more can receive a fee exemption while across the street a neighbor might own less than 20 acres or be zoned non-agricultural and have to pay a fee.

According to Green, if some builders are not paying for their share of the services provided by the building department, other permittees or the general public have to make up the difference.

Green also felt that the current situation did not comply with Proposition 13, which states that fees charged by the government should equal the costs of providing the service. Green’s primary concern was that these buildings, if they were built out of compliance with current state and county building codes, might be unsafe.

Several members of the Plumas County Growers Coalition spoke out in opposition to dropping the fee exemption.

The board decided to schedule a special time for people to express their opinions during its Jan. 17 meeting.

Grand jury results

Two members of the 2015-2016 Plumas County Grand Jury, Keith Mahan and Steve Janovick, were at the meeting to hear what the board had done about the grand jury’s recommendations to improve county government.

The grand jury’s primary recommendations had to do with the animal shelter, the absence of a county administrative officer, training of new board members, evaluation of department heads and the funding of a new jail.

Craig Settlemire, county counsel, pointed out that the board had three options in responding to each of the grand jury’s recommendations: state that they didn’t think change was warranted, state that the issue would take further study or state that they agreed with the recommendation and were willing to comply with it.

In the latter two cases, a time limit had to be given for how long the board was going to take to study or implement a given recommendation

The board went through each of the grand jury’s recommendations one-by-one. They placed a date for further studies to be completed or for actions to be taken to comply with the grand jury’s recommendations.

Janovick said that some of the same recommendations had been made by previous grand juries. Janovick and Mahan said they are planning on staying on as grand jury members in 2017.

Economic development

The Economic Development Committee reported to the board that they have decided to focus their efforts on the county being ready to respond immediately to companies or well-connected individuals who have expressed an interest in relocating to Plumas County.

The committee will work with the Plumas County Planning Department, Realtor associations, chambers of commerce, and workplace development to have materials and contact lists at hand.

The committee will also help organize events to bring companies to Plumas County to see what we have to offer: a superior lifestyle, friendly people, good schools and good health care.

 

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