Building Department Purpose
The purpose of the Building Department is to ensure the safety of all buildings and structures in the City of Priest River through administration and enforcement of codes and ordinances regarding new construction, remodeling, and abatement of dangerous buildings. The Building Department is also responsible for the coordination of plan checks and the issuance of permits for all construction, building demolitions, excavations, and signs.. Electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and gas installation permits are available through and regulated by the State of Idaho.
Building Department Services
The Priest River Building Department serves the community as the building code enforcement entity, for the Building Codes as adopted by the State of Idaho under Idaho Statue title 39 chapter 41. The intent of our building department is to ensure that the minimum standards are met to “safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare through affordability, structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.” ( IRC-R101.3) The IRC reflects the minimum standards of construction for life safety. In other words by applying the minimum standards you may just have the worst building you can legally build.
For Building Department Permits and Applications Click Here
Q. What is exempt from building permit requirements?
A. 1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2).
2. Fences not over 6 feet (2134 mm) high. (changes to 7 feet January 1, 2015)
3. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
4. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 927 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
5. Sidewalks and driveways.
6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
7. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep.
8. Swings and other playground equipment.
9. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
10. Decks not exceeding 200 square feet (18.58 m2) in area, that are not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4.
Q. How much does a building permit cost?
A. Building permit fees are based on the value of the project under taken. Value is based on figures established in April of 2002 intended to comply with section 223 of the 1997 UBC. These standard values are adjusted by region, for instance the value placed on a project in Idaho has a regional modifier of 0.87. It is important to note that the value of a project is value of the work being done not the actual cost a person pays. Once the valuation is complete the Building Department uses Table 1-a from the UBC which gives ranges that projects may fall within and then the fee is calculated. As an example if you were to build a 1200 square foot home of type V wood frame construction your fee would be calculated using, from the valuation data, $67.30 per square foot which equals a house value of $80,760. The Idaho modifier, of 0.87, would then be used to multiply the $80,760 by giving a local value of $70,261.20. Table 1-A gives a range of $50,001-$100,000 stating the base permit fee as $643.75 for the first $50,000 then an additional $7.00 for every $1,000 or fraction of $1,000 above the base amount. In our example then we have $70,261.2 so our base is $643.75 plus 21 x $7.00 for a total permit fee of $790.75. Plan review fees are currently figured at $50.00 per hour and would be in addition to the permit fee.
Q. Are there any other fees I have to pay when getting a building permit?
A. Yes. In addition to the building permit fee there is a plan review fee based on the total hours devoted to plan review. Also, if this is a new structure and the project site was not previously provided with sewer and water, there are connection fees dependent on the size of service line the builder requests. New Residential and Commercial builds are also subject to established impact fees as determined by the applicable adopted fee schedule.
Planning and Zoning
The primary purpose of the Planning and Zoning Department (P&Z) is to administer and enforce the City of Priest River Zoning Regulations and the Comprehensive Plan through long-range planning. The department guides public and private development through comprehensive planning, development policies, and review standards in order to create and maintain a balanced community.
The P&Z, is responsible for implementing Priest River’s Comprehensive Plan and processing amendments to the document. The plan describes how Priest River wishes to direct and manage issues in areas such as:
- Circulation (traffic)
- Costs of development
- Economic development
- Environmental planning
- Known growth areas
- Land use
- Open space
- Water resources
The mayor and city council adopt the city’s Comprehensive Plan and any subsequent updates to the Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is a living document providing direction for City decisions as the Priest River moves into the ever changing future.
Zoning ordinances provide more detailed procedures and regulations, which support the greater goals of the plan. As with the Comprehensive Plan, zoning ordinances must be approved by mayor and council.
P&Z is also responsible for reviewing individual subdivision plats, commercial and residential site plans, rezoning applications, and use permits. The planner approves proposals, which meet the criteria as described in the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Regulations. The planner reviews items such as:
- Available parking
- Building setbacks
- Grading and drainage
- Street lighting
If the planner approves a project, it is sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission. If the commission approves the application, it is sent to the Mayor and City Council for approval. Only after approval by the City Council, can groundbreaking occur.
P&Z works closely with engineers and the Building Department as well as other city agencies such as Public Works and the Fire Department. This interaction ensures that any approvals given by the Planning and Zoning Department do not conflict with the operational duties of other city departments. Cross department communication also ensures that building, fire, and other life safety codes are followed, and that decisions reflect the desires of Priest River’s residents, providing them with a community in which