Planning & Development Services Response to COVID-19

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The City of Tacoma is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD). The City and Planning & Development Services Department recognizes that this is a stressful time for many, and want to continue to reassure you that your health, as well as the health of our employees and community members, remains a top priority. In an effort to slow the potential spread of COVID-19, the City is requiring all employees to work from home when possible.

As of Wednesday, March 18th, our permitting counter will be closed for an indefinite period of time. Although this temporary counter closure means we may not be able assist you in-person, please be assured that PDS will continue to accept applications, review and issue development permits, and schedule inspections, primarily through our online permitting system:

Update as of April 28th noted in RED:

The City and Planning & Development Services Department recognizes that this is a stressful time for many, and want to continue to reassure you that your health, as well as the health of our employees and community members, remains a top priority. In an effort to slow the potential spread of COVID-19, the City is requiring all employees to work from home when possible.

Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order

On Friday, April 24, Governor Inslee issued an addendum to Proclamation 20-25 implementing a “Phase 1 Restart” of construction in our state. This will allow a phased restart of residential and commercial construction activities that are low-risk and adhere to the new COVID-19 Job Site Requirements. No additional documentation needs to be submitted to the City. Construction of an existing qualifying project can resume as soon as the safety requirements have been completed.

By May 1, all essential construction projects that are currently operational will need to comply with the new rules. Our City inspectors will check to make sure that there is a COVID-19 Safety Plan onsite prior to beginning their inspection.

Washington State Building Code

The Governor has issued Proclamation 20-40, extending the implementation date of the Washington State Building Code to November 1, 2020. The City of Tacoma follows the State’s building codes adoption, and therefore the adoption of the 2018 codes in Tacoma will be delayed until November 1, 2020. If you have any questions regarding the application of this change, please contact the City’s Building Official for additional clarification.

Permit Extensions

In response to delays to construction and permitting related to COVID-19, PDS will be granting permit extensions to all building and development permits until June 29, 2020. The extension does not apply to most land use permits, which have different regulatory requirements and generally are active for up to 5 years. However, short plats and plat subdivisions will be granted extensions for the filing of Final Plat through a Director’s Rule.

You may still receive automatic email notifications that your permit is scheduled to expire; however, the permits will remain active until June 29th. If you have questions about your permit expiration, please contact us via email.

Online Permitting

Our permitting counter remains closed at this time; however, PDS will continue to accept applications, review and issue development permits, and schedule inspections through our online permitting system that is available 24/7.

  • Payments can be made with our secure online credit card system or through our automated inspection phone line at (253) 573-2587. In both cases, you will need to have your permit number available. If you are only able to pay by check or cash, please contact our Permits Team for assistance.
  • Permits that require a Right of Way (ROW) bond prior to issuance can attach an electronic PDF of the bond document to their permit application. The original hard copy ROW bond document must be mailed with a confirmation tracking number. Please include the tracking number in the application as this is needed to issue the permit.

Meetings and Inspections

  • All pre-construction meetings will be conducted as a virtual meeting or in-person at the construction site. Inspectors will take all necessary precautions including maintaining appropriate social distancing for all on-site meetings.
  • Inspection services are still available and we are operating during normal business hours. A remote photo inspection may be allowed/required for some permit types where work can be approved through a single inspection. Please review this guidance document to see if your project qualifies for photo inspection. For in-person inspections, please note that our inspectors will ask health-related questions prior to entering a job site in an effort to follow current safety guidelines for COVID-19. Based on the answers provided, the inspector may require the inspection be rescheduled, so any potential risks can be mitigated. Inspection services can be scheduled online or by phone at (253) 573-2587.
  • All pre-development meetings and coaching meetings have been postponed or converted to virtual meetings. If you have a scheduled meeting with staff and have not received communication about converting to a virtual meeting, please contact your assigned staff member or project coordinator for assistance. All new meeting requests will be held virtually during our office closure.

Land Use Permitting

  • Effective April 13, 2020, in an effort to allow additional time for economic recovery, PDS shall provide an extension of time for the filing of a Final Plat for short plats and plat subdivisions. Additional details on Director’s Rule 03-2020 may be found here.
  • Effective April 10, 2020, in an effort to support small commercial business that remain open at this time, PDS shall provide allowance for additional temporary signs until September 30, 2020. Additional details on Director’s Rule 02-2020 may be found here.
  • Given the closure of the Tacoma Municipal Building (TMB), as of March 18, 2020, hearings scheduled will require alternative means until the TMB reopens to the public and gathering limitations are lifted. The Hearing’s Examiners office will be contacting people who have impending hearings to discuss whether they can be held by teleconference.
  • Land Use Appeals must be filed electronically by email. Please contact the Hearing Examiner’s Office to coordinate payment.

Contact Us

  • Our general assistance number (253) 591-5030 will have limited staffing but will be available to answer general questions or they will direct you to one of our review teams for more specific assistance. Phone calls directed to Land Use, Commercial and Residential Building Code, Application Services, and Permit Services will be sent directly to our voicemail systems. We would encourage you to use the forms below to email our review teams. Staff will review voicemail and email messages throughout the day and respond as soon as possible with all messages returned within one business day.

To contact our review teams, please use the buttons below to email our teams with your questions:

We understand these service changes may be inconvenient and frustrating to our customers. We hope by taking these steps we can help slow the spread of the virus in our community. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this unprecedented time.

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