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County fast-tracks ‘Makeover’s’ permits

The second visit to Kitsap County by the “Extreme Make-over: Home Edition” television show caused county government to work at deliberate speed, but it was easier the second time around.

The show rebuilt a North Kitsap family’s home earlier this year. This is the first time in the show’s history it has come back a second time to the same county.

“We knew what to expect this time,” said Department of Community Development Director Cindy Baker. “It goes so fast. They do a lot of pre-planning before they meet with us.”

Baker said all permitting issues are resolved in a one-day meeting between the show and DCD staff.

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” selects families in need of new housing, destroying and rebuilding substandard buildings and constructing more luxurious structures.

In this case, the Kirkwood family’s new house immediately becomes one of nicest homes in the neighborhood.

The project thrives on donations. Weyerhaeuser contributed all of the lumber, while Bellevue-based Home Technologies Inc. provided a state-of-the-art whole-home digital music system.

During the construction, local markets donated food for the volunteers, and a masseuse was on hand.

Kitsap County DCD employees did not donate their time, but did not put in for the overtime worked while working on site around the clock. Baker said an inspector was on site at all times.

Among other things, DCD established a physical barrier so the house would not violate the stream buffer required by the Critical Area Ordinance.

Several members of the DCD staff and county government were aware of the project for several weeks, but kept the secret.

In some cases, the family loses its qualification if word leaks out ahead of time.

Baker said the secret was maintained on the honor system, without imposing any nondisclosure documents. “We don’t sign those,” she said.

Baker said she had “only a few” complaints.

“People realize this is for the good of humanity,” Baker said. “This exposure brings respect to the community. It shows us in a positive light, that our community would support a family like this.”

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said the department is handling standard security and traffic issues with a mixture of personnel, using a combination of cadets, citizens on patrol and off-duty officers.

The first two groups are volunteers, but off-duty deputies are reimbursed by the show at a $30 hourly rate, according to Wilson.

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