Construction Information

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On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that legally required all residents to curtail all social activity, and banned ALL gatherings of any size, public or private, and restricted construction.

This page is dedicated to providing the Mercer Island community and local construction companies the latest information on the Governor's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" Order and the reopening of construction per guidance from the Governor's office, the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), and L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

See the Construction Updates section below for the latest information.





On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that legally required all residents to curtail all social activity, and banned ALL gatherings of any size, public or private, and restricted construction.

This page is dedicated to providing the Mercer Island community and local construction companies the latest information on the Governor's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" Order and the reopening of construction per guidance from the Governor's office, the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), and L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

See the Construction Updates section below for the latest information.





  • King County Moves into Modified Phase 1 - All Construction Now Allowed

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    about 1 month ago

    On Friday, June 5 the Washington State Department of Health accepted the King County plan to allow for limited openings of recreational, social, business, and construction related activities in a modified Phase 1 of the Governor Jay Inslee's Safe Start reopening plan. A description of the activities allowed under the modified phase 1 is available on King County’s website.

    Mercer Island expects that new construction work will begin shortly; all construction work remains subject to established COVID-19 Job Site Requirements.

    The Washington Department of Labor and Industries will remain as the agency responsible for enforcement of the job site requirements. If a community member witnesses a violation of the job site requirements, please contact Labor and Industries (L&I) at L&I DOSH Safety Call Center 1-800-423-7233 or via e-mail to adag235@lni.wa.gov.

    On Friday, June 5 the Washington State Department of Health accepted the King County plan to allow for limited openings of recreational, social, business, and construction related activities in a modified Phase 1 of the Governor Jay Inslee's Safe Start reopening plan. A description of the activities allowed under the modified phase 1 is available on King County’s website.

    Mercer Island expects that new construction work will begin shortly; all construction work remains subject to established COVID-19 Job Site Requirements.

    The Washington Department of Labor and Industries will remain as the agency responsible for enforcement of the job site requirements. If a community member witnesses a violation of the job site requirements, please contact Labor and Industries (L&I) at L&I DOSH Safety Call Center 1-800-423-7233 or via e-mail to adag235@lni.wa.gov.

  • City to Resume Public Notice May 11, 2020

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    2 months ago

    Public Notice was temporarily suspended in late March due to the Governor’s Stay at Home order. This was primarily a change in City operations to ensure that the City complied with the Governor’s Stay at Home order and to allow Community Planning & Development to determine how to best implement remote operations. CPD staff continued to process building and land use applications remotely; however, many of the projects and permits require a public notification and/or a notice of application/decision.

    In an effort to continue to promote citizen involvement and provide information to our local community around current development applications that have been submitted within the past several weeks, Community Planning & Development (CPD) is resuming public notice (i.e. the Weekly Bulletin, mailings, and postings) to provide notification and public comment periods. Staff have provided answers to frequently asked questions to better assist the community in understanding the notice process and procedures, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.


    Q: Why is Public Notice resuming while the Governor’s shelter in place order is still in effect through May 31st?

    A: The Governor’s order still allowed for essential projects and some non-essential projects to continue, as well as for employees to continue regular operations working remotely. Planners are processing permits remotely to every extent possible, but in many cases cannot proceed on various permits until public notification / notice procedures are completed. Mercer Island is the only city in King County that has ceased public notifications / notice during the Governor’s stay-at-home order. In an effort to avoid deluging the community with numerous notices at the end of the order, and causing unnecessary delays to our citizens that are trying to obtain a building or land use permit, the City resumed Public Notices in order to continue providing notifications for the public’s information and participation in the public comment process.


    Q: How can the City issue public notices while City Hall is closed to the public?

    A: Most of the noticing can be prepared remotely, including the Weekly Bulletin. A staff person is required to be in the office each week to print the notices, prepare for mailing (stuff envelopes and run through the postage machine), make the sign and post on site. This process can be completed with only one person in the office to implement the necessary steps utilizing social distancing measures.


    Q: Is resuming the issuance of public notices consistent with applicable law (e.g. the State statutes and MICC regulations) relating to public notice and the Governor’s order?

    A: The City is operating in compliance with the Governor’s order. The City is also complying with the MICC regulations by providing the public notifications required for each permit or project application and utilizing social distancing measures and PPE, as necessary. Staff are available to take public comment, provide public records and answer questions from the public via email, phone and video conference.


    Q: Are public notices required for all permits?

    A: Permit review types are outlined in MICC 19.15.030. Type I permits (e.g., nonmajor building permits, tree removal permits, shoreline exemptions, etc.) do not require public notification or notices of application/decision. Type II permits receive public notification in the Weekly Bulletin issued by CPD. Public notice (mailing and posting on site) is required on all Type III and Type IV permits.


    Q: If I receive a notice, do I have the ability to review the file or consult with a planner?

    A: Yes. All project file materials are available online. Additionally, planning staff are working remotely and available during regular office hours and can be reached at their regular office phone number, or via e-mail, to discuss a project or permit. Though we cannot meet in person, due to the City offices being closed to the public, we can have a video conference call if face-to-face interaction is preferred to discuss a project.

    Public Notice was temporarily suspended in late March due to the Governor’s Stay at Home order. This was primarily a change in City operations to ensure that the City complied with the Governor’s Stay at Home order and to allow Community Planning & Development to determine how to best implement remote operations. CPD staff continued to process building and land use applications remotely; however, many of the projects and permits require a public notification and/or a notice of application/decision.

    In an effort to continue to promote citizen involvement and provide information to our local community around current development applications that have been submitted within the past several weeks, Community Planning & Development (CPD) is resuming public notice (i.e. the Weekly Bulletin, mailings, and postings) to provide notification and public comment periods. Staff have provided answers to frequently asked questions to better assist the community in understanding the notice process and procedures, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.


    Q: Why is Public Notice resuming while the Governor’s shelter in place order is still in effect through May 31st?

    A: The Governor’s order still allowed for essential projects and some non-essential projects to continue, as well as for employees to continue regular operations working remotely. Planners are processing permits remotely to every extent possible, but in many cases cannot proceed on various permits until public notification / notice procedures are completed. Mercer Island is the only city in King County that has ceased public notifications / notice during the Governor’s stay-at-home order. In an effort to avoid deluging the community with numerous notices at the end of the order, and causing unnecessary delays to our citizens that are trying to obtain a building or land use permit, the City resumed Public Notices in order to continue providing notifications for the public’s information and participation in the public comment process.


    Q: How can the City issue public notices while City Hall is closed to the public?

    A: Most of the noticing can be prepared remotely, including the Weekly Bulletin. A staff person is required to be in the office each week to print the notices, prepare for mailing (stuff envelopes and run through the postage machine), make the sign and post on site. This process can be completed with only one person in the office to implement the necessary steps utilizing social distancing measures.


    Q: Is resuming the issuance of public notices consistent with applicable law (e.g. the State statutes and MICC regulations) relating to public notice and the Governor’s order?

    A: The City is operating in compliance with the Governor’s order. The City is also complying with the MICC regulations by providing the public notifications required for each permit or project application and utilizing social distancing measures and PPE, as necessary. Staff are available to take public comment, provide public records and answer questions from the public via email, phone and video conference.


    Q: Are public notices required for all permits?

    A: Permit review types are outlined in MICC 19.15.030. Type I permits (e.g., nonmajor building permits, tree removal permits, shoreline exemptions, etc.) do not require public notification or notices of application/decision. Type II permits receive public notification in the Weekly Bulletin issued by CPD. Public notice (mailing and posting on site) is required on all Type III and Type IV permits.


    Q: If I receive a notice, do I have the ability to review the file or consult with a planner?

    A: Yes. All project file materials are available online. Additionally, planning staff are working remotely and available during regular office hours and can be reached at their regular office phone number, or via e-mail, to discuss a project or permit. Though we cannot meet in person, due to the City offices being closed to the public, we can have a video conference call if face-to-face interaction is preferred to discuss a project.

  • Governor clarifies partial restart of construction on existing job sites

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    2 months ago

    On April 29, 2020 the Governor issued a clarification regarding which job sites would be considered "existing construction" and allowed to resume work.

    For the purposes of the partial restart, "existing construction" is construction activity that is a) needed to fulfill an obligation under a contract effective prior to March 23, 2020, or b) authorized by a government-issued permit obtained prior to March 23, 2020.

    Construction authorized under Proclamation 20-25 and Governor Inslee’s March 25, 2020, memo continues to be allowed.

    On April 29, 2020 the Governor issued a clarification regarding which job sites would be considered "existing construction" and allowed to resume work.

    For the purposes of the partial restart, "existing construction" is construction activity that is a) needed to fulfill an obligation under a contract effective prior to March 23, 2020, or b) authorized by a government-issued permit obtained prior to March 23, 2020.

    Construction authorized under Proclamation 20-25 and Governor Inslee’s March 25, 2020, memo continues to be allowed.

  • Details On The Governor’s Order Partially Restarting Construction

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    2 months ago

    Apr 27, 2020 - On Friday April 24, Governor Inlsee authorized a partial resumption of construction activity on existing job sites.

    Starting today (April 27), the City of Mercer Island will resume inspections of existing, low-risk projects that comply with the Governor's Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Jobsite Requirements. All inspections will be conducted in a manner intended to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. To be considered low-risk, the project activities must not require workers to be closer than six feet apart.

    In order to restart construction, contractors will be required to meet a number of COVID-19 health and safety requirements including those listed below - enforcement will be overseen by the State’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I):

    • Social distancing of at least six feet of separation must be maintained by every person on the worksite at all times. Contractors are required to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan that must be posted on the job site;
    • Contractors must designate a site-specific COVID-19 Supervisor to monitor the health of employees, including daily temperature monitoring, and enforce the site safety plan;
    • Safety training must be provided to all workers on the first day of returning to work, and weekly thereafter;
    • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided by employers;
    • Sanitation measures must be in place at the job site, including handwashing stations, health signage, and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces;
    • A daily jobsite attendance log of all workers and visitors must be kept and retained;
    • Employee policies must be developed that encourage workers to stay home if they feel sick, screen workers for symptoms, and allow employees who do not believe it is safe to work to remove themselves from the job site. Employers must follow the expanded medical leave requirements included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or allow the worker to use unemployment benefits, paid time off, or any other form of available leave at the worker’s discretion.

    City Inspections

    Inspections will only be made on work that is in compliance with all aspects of the Governor’s Phase 1 Order and can be requested via MyBuildingPermit.com or the City’s inspection line at 206-275-7730. Once scheduled with the contractor, inspection will be performed by video whenever possible.

    City Fire Marshal Inspections

    Fire Inspections will only be made on work that is in compliance with all aspects of the Governor’s Phase 1 Order and can be requested by calling the Fire Marshal’s inspection line at 206-275-7979. At this time the City is offering video inspection with very limited in-person options; this may change as new guidance emerges.

    For more information on allowed construction activities during coronavirus pandemic, please visit the City’s custom webpage, or contact the Community Planning and Development Department directly by phone or Email at: 206-275-7605 or epermittech@mercergov.org.

    Apr 27, 2020 - On Friday April 24, Governor Inlsee authorized a partial resumption of construction activity on existing job sites.

    Starting today (April 27), the City of Mercer Island will resume inspections of existing, low-risk projects that comply with the Governor's Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Jobsite Requirements. All inspections will be conducted in a manner intended to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. To be considered low-risk, the project activities must not require workers to be closer than six feet apart.

    In order to restart construction, contractors will be required to meet a number of COVID-19 health and safety requirements including those listed below - enforcement will be overseen by the State’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I):

    • Social distancing of at least six feet of separation must be maintained by every person on the worksite at all times. Contractors are required to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan that must be posted on the job site;
    • Contractors must designate a site-specific COVID-19 Supervisor to monitor the health of employees, including daily temperature monitoring, and enforce the site safety plan;
    • Safety training must be provided to all workers on the first day of returning to work, and weekly thereafter;
    • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided by employers;
    • Sanitation measures must be in place at the job site, including handwashing stations, health signage, and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces;
    • A daily jobsite attendance log of all workers and visitors must be kept and retained;
    • Employee policies must be developed that encourage workers to stay home if they feel sick, screen workers for symptoms, and allow employees who do not believe it is safe to work to remove themselves from the job site. Employers must follow the expanded medical leave requirements included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or allow the worker to use unemployment benefits, paid time off, or any other form of available leave at the worker’s discretion.

    City Inspections

    Inspections will only be made on work that is in compliance with all aspects of the Governor’s Phase 1 Order and can be requested via MyBuildingPermit.com or the City’s inspection line at 206-275-7730. Once scheduled with the contractor, inspection will be performed by video whenever possible.

    City Fire Marshal Inspections

    Fire Inspections will only be made on work that is in compliance with all aspects of the Governor’s Phase 1 Order and can be requested by calling the Fire Marshal’s inspection line at 206-275-7979. At this time the City is offering video inspection with very limited in-person options; this may change as new guidance emerges.

    For more information on allowed construction activities during coronavirus pandemic, please visit the City’s custom webpage, or contact the Community Planning and Development Department directly by phone or Email at: 206-275-7605 or epermittech@mercergov.org.

  • April 24 Update

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    2 months ago

    On April 24, the Governor modified his Stay at Home order allowing "low risk" construction activity to resume on existing projects if certain health and safety requirements are met. Low risk is defined as “only those work activities that do not require workers to be closer than six-feet together.”

    Construction sites that are not complying with the health and safety requirements should be reported to the Washington Department of Labor and Industry's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

    NOTE: Workplace safety and health complaints may be submitted to the L&I Call Center: (1-800-423-7233) or via e-mail to adag235@lni.wa.gov.

    Starting April 27, the City of Mercer Island will resume inspections of existing, low risk projects that comply with the Governor's "Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Job Site Requirements." All inspections will be conducted in a manner intended to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.

    On April 24, the Governor modified his Stay at Home order allowing "low risk" construction activity to resume on existing projects if certain health and safety requirements are met. Low risk is defined as “only those work activities that do not require workers to be closer than six-feet together.”

    Construction sites that are not complying with the health and safety requirements should be reported to the Washington Department of Labor and Industry's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

    NOTE: Workplace safety and health complaints may be submitted to the L&I Call Center: (1-800-423-7233) or via e-mail to adag235@lni.wa.gov.

    Starting April 27, the City of Mercer Island will resume inspections of existing, low risk projects that comply with the Governor's "Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Job Site Requirements." All inspections will be conducted in a manner intended to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.

  • April 16 Update

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    2 months ago

    On April 16, the City resumed issuing those permits which were previously suspended until permit payments could be processed and do not require additional public notice. Permits that may be issued include tree permits, small remodel and renovation permits for single family homes, and construction permits for new single family homes when public notice has previously been provided.

    The City tentatively anticipates resuming the issuance of public notices related to construction beginning May 11; this includes the issuance of Notices of Application, Notices of Public Hearing, and Notices of Decision. Public noticing, once resumed, will comply with adopted City ordinances and timelines including, for example, the 30-day public comment period and 30-day notice of public hearing requirement.

    The City also tentatively anticipates the resumption of public meetings / hearings between June 22 and July 10, the City tentatively anticipates the resumption of public meetings / hearings related to construction.

    NOTE: All permit approvals will be conditioned to require compliance with the Governor’s Stay at Home order.

    Tentative Timeline for Reopening City Permitting Processes:

    • On April 16, 2020 the City resumed issuing those permits that were previously suspended until permit payments could be processed and do not require additional public notice.
    • On May 11, 2020 the City tentatively anticipates resuming the issuance of public notices related to construction.
    • Between June 22, 2020 and July 10, 2020, the City tentatively anticipates the resumption of public meetings / hearings related to construction.
    • In September 2020, the City tentatively anticipates adoption of the updated construction codes, with an effective date of November 1, 2020.

    NOTE: This timeline is subject to any and all “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order extensions issued by the Governor or King County.

    On April 16, the City resumed issuing those permits which were previously suspended until permit payments could be processed and do not require additional public notice. Permits that may be issued include tree permits, small remodel and renovation permits for single family homes, and construction permits for new single family homes when public notice has previously been provided.

    The City tentatively anticipates resuming the issuance of public notices related to construction beginning May 11; this includes the issuance of Notices of Application, Notices of Public Hearing, and Notices of Decision. Public noticing, once resumed, will comply with adopted City ordinances and timelines including, for example, the 30-day public comment period and 30-day notice of public hearing requirement.

    The City also tentatively anticipates the resumption of public meetings / hearings between June 22 and July 10, the City tentatively anticipates the resumption of public meetings / hearings related to construction.

    NOTE: All permit approvals will be conditioned to require compliance with the Governor’s Stay at Home order.

    Tentative Timeline for Reopening City Permitting Processes:

    • On April 16, 2020 the City resumed issuing those permits that were previously suspended until permit payments could be processed and do not require additional public notice.
    • On May 11, 2020 the City tentatively anticipates resuming the issuance of public notices related to construction.
    • Between June 22, 2020 and July 10, 2020, the City tentatively anticipates the resumption of public meetings / hearings related to construction.
    • In September 2020, the City tentatively anticipates adoption of the updated construction codes, with an effective date of November 1, 2020.

    NOTE: This timeline is subject to any and all “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order extensions issued by the Governor or King County.

  • Construction and the Governor's Stay Home Order

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    2 months ago

    On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee issued the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that legally required all residents to curtail all social activity, and banned ALL gatherings of any size, public or private, and restricted construction.

    Most residential and commercial construction, with some exceptions, was prohibited by the Governor’s Stay at Home order and CPD staff actively reached out to the MI building community to encourage compliance.

    Further clarification authorized some construction work to continue, including work necessary for safety or damage avoidance, or essential for the use of a home like emergency water heater replacements, roof repair, or securing a construction site from damage.

    If residents have not done so already, please postpone contractor work at your home or place of business unless the work is:

    • Essential to prevent damage.
    • Essential to address unsafe conditions.
    • Essential for making emergency repairs.

    To lodge a complaint about ongoing construction work, please first review the list of exceptions (see Memo here), then call the City's Coronavirus hotline: 206-275-7626.

    Continuing to review and issue permits is an essential function of government. Permit reviews ensure that construction work is safe, protects the environment, and supports a swift economic recovery.

    Community Planning and Development (CPD) staff are working remotely to complete this essential activity, consistent with the Governor’s Stay at Home order. CPD is continuing to:

    • Accept and review permit applications.
    • Conduct pre-application meetings.
    • Conduct inspections for work that is exempt from the Governor’s order.

    If you would like to file a permit application, request a pre-application meeting, or request an inspection – please visit the CPD website: www.mercergov.org/cpd for instructions on how to do so.

    CPD has temporarily suspended the following work:

    • Inspections for work that is not exempt from the order.
    • Legislative work (e.g. Town Center, sign, small cell code amendments, etc.).
    • Design Commission and Planning Commission public meetings.
    • Public hearings before the Hearing Examiner and Design Commission.
    • Issuance of public notices.
    • Issuance of permits that require additional public notice.

    Some of the above work has been temporarily suspended to allow the City to develop alternative means of doing the work remotely. CPD anticipates resuming the issuance of public notice and issuance of permit approvals in the near future, and anticipates resuming public meetings and public hearings when feasible.

    On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee issued the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that legally required all residents to curtail all social activity, and banned ALL gatherings of any size, public or private, and restricted construction.

    Most residential and commercial construction, with some exceptions, was prohibited by the Governor’s Stay at Home order and CPD staff actively reached out to the MI building community to encourage compliance.

    Further clarification authorized some construction work to continue, including work necessary for safety or damage avoidance, or essential for the use of a home like emergency water heater replacements, roof repair, or securing a construction site from damage.

    If residents have not done so already, please postpone contractor work at your home or place of business unless the work is:

    • Essential to prevent damage.
    • Essential to address unsafe conditions.
    • Essential for making emergency repairs.

    To lodge a complaint about ongoing construction work, please first review the list of exceptions (see Memo here), then call the City's Coronavirus hotline: 206-275-7626.

    Continuing to review and issue permits is an essential function of government. Permit reviews ensure that construction work is safe, protects the environment, and supports a swift economic recovery.

    Community Planning and Development (CPD) staff are working remotely to complete this essential activity, consistent with the Governor’s Stay at Home order. CPD is continuing to:

    • Accept and review permit applications.
    • Conduct pre-application meetings.
    • Conduct inspections for work that is exempt from the Governor’s order.

    If you would like to file a permit application, request a pre-application meeting, or request an inspection – please visit the CPD website: www.mercergov.org/cpd for instructions on how to do so.

    CPD has temporarily suspended the following work:

    • Inspections for work that is not exempt from the order.
    • Legislative work (e.g. Town Center, sign, small cell code amendments, etc.).
    • Design Commission and Planning Commission public meetings.
    • Public hearings before the Hearing Examiner and Design Commission.
    • Issuance of public notices.
    • Issuance of permits that require additional public notice.

    Some of the above work has been temporarily suspended to allow the City to develop alternative means of doing the work remotely. CPD anticipates resuming the issuance of public notice and issuance of permit approvals in the near future, and anticipates resuming public meetings and public hearings when feasible.