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Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1955 No. 86 - Jun 1 1955
Attorney General Don Eastvold


Chapter 129, Laws of 1955, makes issuance of county building permit mandatory only on construction over $500 in value.

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                                                                    June 1, 1955

Honorable Herb Hanson
State Representative, 39th District
Snohomish, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 86

Dear Sir:

            You have requested our opinion as to whether the commissioners of a county may require building permits for all construction, including that costing less than $500, after the effective date of chapter 129, Laws of 1955.

            In our opinion, they may do so.


            The title of chapter 129 states that it is

            "AN ACT relating to revenue and taxation and providing a method for assessment of new construction."

            Section 2 provides in relevant part that:

            "The county commissioners of every county shall provide for the issuance of a building permit for the construction or alteration of any building within the county, for which the value of the material exceeds five hundred dollars except that where any city within the  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] county issues such permits for all buildings within its jurisdiction, it shall not be necessary for the county to issue building permits for the construction or alteration of buildings within any such city.  * * *"

            From a reading of the act it seems clear that the legislature simply intended to implement the assessment procedures in order to insure the collection of taxes.

            Although the statute requires the issuance of a building permit in certain cases, it does not purport to restrict the county commissioners' right under chapter 36.43 RCW to adopt and enforce building codes and fire regulations.  In an opinion to the prosecuting attorney of Grays Harbor County on March 31, 1947, a copy of which is attached, we have held that permits may be required on all construction outside incorporated cities in connection with such codes.

            There being no conflict between the provisions or purposes of chapter 129, Laws of 1955, and chapter 36.43 RCW, we conclude that the county commissioners are still authorized to require building permits for new construction, even though the value of the materials may be $500 or less.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General