County supports opt-out option on building permits

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COEUR d'ALENE — Kootenai County building permit system is changing from a mandatory system to one with an opt-out version.

Commissoners, on a 2-1 vote late Monday night, made the decision following more than three hours of testimony during a public hearing attended by roughly 400 at the Kroc Center.

In a compromise, Commissioners Bob Bingham and Marc Eberlein voted in support of the opt-out option proposed by Bingham. Commissioner Chris Fillios was the dissenting vote, arguing that the updated building codes should be adopted and the present system remain.

Bingham had proposed opt-out provisions for structures on parcels of 5 acres or larger, but those were scrapped in the compromise and the decision applies to any buildable residential property instead.

Proponents of an opt-out system argue it's an opportunity to reduce government and boosts freedom of choice. Opponents, including many realtors and those in the construction industry, are concerned it will lead to cutting corners on building.

The decision pertains to areas of the county only, not inside city limits.

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