May 28, 2009 · Updated 11:35 AM
The Kitsap County Department of Community Development (DCD) has developed a short video intended to guide residents through the permitting maze and explain the process in a clear, cogent way.
“We wanted to give people something that explains the process in full at the beginning,” said DCD Director Larry Keeton, “so they aren’t in the middle of getting a permit and don’t know what to do next.”
Getting a permit is admittedly difficult, and fraught with unexpected regulations — at least for someone confronting it for the first time.
The documents explaining the different steps are often dry and confusing, so DCD determined that a video is something that people will easily understand.
The video, titled “I’m a Permit,” is nearly 13 minutes long and is viewable from a link on the county Web site, or in the window on this page.
It is viewable on the Google video site.
A DVD version, which applicants can view on their computer or television, is supplied as part of every permitting application and is available by request.
The production cost the county about $3,300, plus the cost of disc duplication.
Many online videos have a homemade appearance, but this clip has a professional look due to the involvement of Bremerton Kitsap Access Television (BKAT), which filmed and edited the presentation after detailed script consultations with Keeton and members of the DCD staff, specifically Program Specialist Mary Seals.
According to Keeton, the video will eventually save money for the department, since staffers will not have to explain the same procedure repeatedly.
Using DCD employees as actors, the video traces a permit from application to completion.
It shows what can go wrong, and takes the customer inside the meetings where the specifics are decided.
The dramatization helps people understand what they need to do in preparation, such as hire engineers to verify the boundaries of a right-of-way or determine whether wetlands are located on the property.
Even as it provides a cursory look at the issues, each topic is referenced to a specific county code number for the applicant to search if they have that specific concern.
“We wanted to provide people with a comprehensive look at what to expect,” Keeton said, “even though not every applicant will need to follow everything in the video.”
Keeton said there is enough information to make an hour-long video, and that 12 minutes isn’t enough time to include all the details.
Still, it falls within the average person’s attention span, and helps them to understand permit acquisition from start to finish.
The Department is looking at how to move processes online and allow customers to do much of their business with the Department electronically, according to Keeton.
The Web site provides information about paying fees, including the online credit card payment option, as well as instructions for paying with cash or check.
DCD is also conducting a survey to gather citizen input for its upcoming redesign of the web page. To access the survey, or for more information, go to www.kitsapgov.com/dcd/.
“Even with the recent Friday closure, reduced staff, and the reduction of staff hours, we continue to make improvements in customer service,” Keeton said. “This video makes getting a permit easier to understand and helps the customer through the process.”