To accommodate increasing construction activity, Clatsop County and the cities of Astoria and Warrenton plan to end their joint building inspection services. Instead, the two cities will provide their own inspection services.

The county has provided the inspection services at the request of the two cities since July 2002. However, the number of building permits and the complexity of some of the construction projects have significantly exceeded expectations, according to Astoria City Manager Dan Bartlett and Warrenton City Manager Scott Derickson. Construction activity is continuing to increase and will exceed the capacity of the current staffing level in Building Codes, Interim County Administrator Debra Kraske said.

The workload has been the subject of discussions between the county and the cities since spring. As the construction season winds down, now is the ideal time to make a change in the building inspection program.

Starting Nov. 1, Astoria and Warrenton will be responsible for their own building inspections. Both cities plan to contract with professionals for the service.

Astoria will contract with Steve Winstead, an architect and certified building inspector from Oregon City, to staff its inspection program, Bartlett said. His company has previously provided inspection services for the cities and the county, and he is familiar with the local construction activity. To ease in the transition, Winstead is already taking over inspection of some of the larger construction projects in Astoria. Warrenton is exploring its options, Derickson said.

The county will continue to conduct electrical inspections within the cities. The county will also provide all inspections for building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, manufactured homes and recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds in the unincorporated areas of the county.

The governing bodies of the two cities and the county will formally vote to end the joint building inspection program. The Astoria City Council will vote tonight. The Warrenton City Commissionwill vote on it this week and the county Board of Commissioners will vote Wednesday.

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