Boundary Line Adjustment

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A Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA) is a minor alteration to the location of a lot line of an existing lot.

City Requirements

  • Shall not increase the number of lots nor diminish open space or other protected environments
  • Shall not result in a lot of less square footage than prescribed in the zoning regulations
  • Shall not result in the reduction of setbacks or site coverage to less than required by the zoning regulations
  • Shall not result in any parcel of lot that is inconsistent with or prevents compliance with the standards of the Tacoma Municipal Code
  • Shall not result in any new nonconformities or increase existing nonconformities

State Requirements

  • Washington State law declares that BLAs are appropriate when no additional lots are created and all lots conform to current zoning and development standards
  • Examples of development standards are: minimum lot area, minimum lot width, minimum lot frontage, building setbacks, acccess and utility standards, and critical areas regulations.
  • Please refer to other available Tip Sheets for additional information relating to the City’s development standards, such as building code distance from structures to property lines.

BLA Example

Submittal Documents and Requirements

All application materials must be submitted in electronic PDF format online at See Electronic File Standards Tip Sheet.

  • Pre-application Meeting
  • Completed Application for Land Use Permit
  • Current Title Report dated within 90 days of application submittal
  • Lot Closure Report
  • Owner’s Authorization Form signed by property owner
  • Site Plan:
  • Other information identified by City staff
  • Application fee

Permit Process

Pre-Application Meeting:  A pre-application meeting is required prior to submitting a BLA application.  Pre-application meetings can be requested using the Tacoma Permits portal (ACA): (see Pre-Application Meetings Tip Sheet).  The pre-application meeting can often be carried out as an electronic review, but if an in-person meeting occurs, be sure to provide at least one print of your proposed site plan when meeting with the Planner and City Surveyor.

Submit Your Application:  After the pre-application meeting has occurred and necessary corrections have been made, application for the BLA can be submitted online using the Tacoma Permits portal (ACA). Payment is due at the time of application submittal.

Technical Review:  Once the BLA application is determined to be complete, City staff will review the application materials and issue a decision.

Decision: A decision will be mailed to the applicant and property owner.  The decision will include corrections to the site plan that will need to be made before the site plan can be recorded, if applicable.  These corrections are referred to as “redlines”.  Remember to bring a copy of these corrections when you submit the final documents for recording.  The decision will also include information to assist you when applying for development permits for your specific project.

Appeal: Appeals may be filed with the City’s Hearing Examiner within 14 days of the decision date.

Recording: Approved Boundary Line Adjustments may be recorded within five years of the Director’s final decision date.  Prior to submittal of the final documents to the City for recording, the applicant shall obtain the required signatures, ensure that it has been stamped by a licensed surveyor in black ink, and pay the associated fees.  Legibility forms are available at the Pierce County Annex prior to submittal if there are concerns regarding the acceptability of signatures or the survey stamp on the final documents.

Two (2) separate checks are required during the recording process.  One is made payable to the City of Tacoma and the other is made payable to Pierce County.  The fees for recording are listed on the last page of your Decision.

Visit and use the Permit Fee Estimator or see the Fee Schedule to find more information about the fees associated with a Boundary Line Adjustment. Please note that the fees are updated yearly, effective February.

Applicable Regulations

Remember that the surveyor’s stamp, date, and signature must be in black ink.

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