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City takes over from State Fire Marshal's Office on plan reviews

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Residents interested in pursuing business projects in Pawhuska that will call for new construction or major commercial remodeling should see the time needed for the review of their plans significantly reduced, City Manager Tonya Bright said.

The reason for the anticipated acceleration of plan reviews and structure permitting is that the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal's Office has turned the activity over to the city of Pawhuska.

"We sent the form in to the State Fire Marshal on Oct. 21. They approved it the next day or so," Bright said regarding the official handover of responsibility from the state to the city. "We have gotten positive feedback for the ones that it has affected. Mainly Help Works, with their new project that they will be doing."

Bright explained what the new arrangement will mean for business developers.

"Anyone coming in that wants to do new construction or remodeling, will fill out a zoning clearance permit," she said. "They will also need to bring a set of their plans on what they are wanting to do. Once they fill that out, it’s a case-by-case scenario on what needs to happen next.

"There are details that still need to be ironed out, but the one positive thing is that no one has to submit their plans to the State Fire Marshal anymore," Bright said. "This will speed up the process for any new construction or major commercial remodels."

Bright said the change had been under discussion since the period in 2018/19, when Larry Eulert was city manager. Bright said Pawhuska has only just begun handling the plan review and permitting activity, but she anticipates it could mean business people will spend days or weeks on a process that might have taken months if the Fire Marshal's Office was still running it.