One-stop shop for planners and developers off the table

Part I of a series

A long-held plan to create a one-stop-shop for development with The Dalles and Wasco County planning departments moving into the same building with the building codes department probably won’t happen.

Monday night The Dalles City Council turned down the offer from Wasco County to partner with the county in buying the building at 11th and Kelly that now houses the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (MCCOG). That organization, which had operated the building codes agency for a four-county region on behalf of the counties, voted earlier this year to dissolve.

Though members of The Dalles City Council liked the concept of a one-stop shop, they said they weren’t interested in joining with the county to buy that building or to lease space there when they already have space in city hall for their own planning department.

“Even though I think it would be more convenient for citizens and contractors to just go to one location,” City Manager Julie Krueger told the council Monday, “the city would have to pay quite a bit of money to help purchase the building, and then ongoing maintenance for years and years, or we would need to pay rent for our share of use of the building.”

It’s estimated that the city and county would each have to pay $200,000 to purchase the MCCOG building and retire the debt against it. Money to purchase the building originally was borrowed from the building codes reserve fund, which would have to be repaid

Wasco County Executive Tyler Stone told the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments at its meeting Tuesday that the county plan was dependent on the city’s participation and that Monday night’s council decision “completely bombshelled that body of work.”

“With the city stepping out of that discussion,” he said, “Wasco County is not going to purchase another building, just to house four or five people from building codes.”

Wasco County will now consider whether to take over the building codes function or let it revert to the state.