Tulsa County Inspection Division Oversees Unincorporated Areas of Significant Growth

While most of the citizens in Tulsa County live in one of its 10 metropolitan areas within the County, more than 30,000 live in unincorporated areas in Tulsa County, outside of any city’s boundaries. The unincorporated area is also where some of Tulsa County’s largest commercial development has taken place.
Whether it’s residential or commercial development, the responsibility for overseeing orderly and proper commercial and residential development is the responsibility of the Tulsa County Inspections Division.
Examples of development projects supervised by the County Inspection Division include: the Macy’s Distribution center ($92 million); Milo’s Famous Tea ($25 million), Whirlpool ($31 million); Expo Square ($17 million) and renovation of the county’s Administration Building ($30 million).
In these, and many other commercial projects, the staff of the County Inspection Division provides professional oversight to make sure these economic development projects move forward as quickly as possible.
The Inspections Division also regulates construction of residential buildings. It issues building, electrical, zoning, mechanical, plumbing, and earth changing permits for new and remodeled residential properties in the unincorporated areas of Tulsa County.
With all the recent residential development in the unincorporated areas, approximately 1,400 permits were issued in 2019.
The staff works with property owners, and developers every step of the way through their projects. Providing each of the required permits until a certificate of occupancy is issued.
To improve on the permitting service, the staff is adopting new mobile software that will allow inspectors to have all the relevant permitting information in the field and accessible by tablet to eliminate as much delay as possible. The professional staff in the Inspection Division is striving to replace the red tape with a red carpet.
Another important issue the department deals with is zoning. The office receives hundreds of calls and complaints every year that cover about 150 different properties with more than 220 violations documented.
The violations are reported from citizen complaints as well as a county inspector. Each complaint is personally investigated, and all violations are thoroughly documented with pictures and written descriptions. All owners are given an opportunity to abate the problem before any official action is taken.
In 2019, the Inspections Division was heavily involved with two very significant events in Tulsa County: the 2019 flooding and the growth of the medical marijuana business.
Since Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana, 67 building permits on 40 different properties have been handled by the Inspections Division.
The staff treats medical marijuana business just as they would any other business in the inspection process. The main difference is that the medical marijuana businesses must also comply with state regulations and have Certificates of Compliance approved and signed by the Inspections Division.
More than 180 properties underwent onsite flood assessment during the flooding with at least 100 undergoing more in-depth flood investigation to determine whether they were substantially damaged. Most of these were in the Town and Country area.
The Inspections Division recently updated the Fee Schedule for Tulsa County which will go into effect in March.
To see the full list of the costs for the various permits as well as building permit applications and a “Building Permit How To Guide,” visit Director Teresa Tosh at ttosh@tulsacounty.org and Zoning Specialist Daniel Walden at daniel.walden@tulsacounty.org.

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