Commercial Site Development

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Commercial Site Development (SDEV) Permits are often required for any activities that disturb the site. This sheet provides information on when an SDEV permit is needed, details types of SDEV permits, and overviews the permitting process.

What is the purpose of an SDEV Permit?
To ensure city design standards and regulatory requirements are applied to site work, in order to protect public safety and the environment.

What are Cumulative Impacts and what affect do they have?
When sites are re-developed, constructed in phases, or when the impervious footprint(s) are otherwise altered, all site work completed since 01/01/2003 is added together to calculate thresholds and determine permit requirements.

Onsite Activities Requiring an SDEV
The table below outlines site activities and scopes that would require an SDEV permit. Continue reading this tip sheet for information on the further classification of Major and Minor SDEV permits.

This information is also available as part of the Stormwater Management Manual, Chapter 3.

Site Activities Requiring an SDEV Permit
Site Disturbing Activity
  • Grade and/or fill of >50 yd3 of material
  • New/replacement of ≥2,000 ft2 of hard surfaces
  • Any project that disturbs ≥7,000 ft2 of land
Onsite Utility Work*
  • Stormwater and sanitary sewer service connections or repairs
  • Stormwater and sanitary sewer facility construction or alterations

*Utility permit(s) are required in addition to an SDEV; read below for information on other permits that may be needed

Building-related work
  • Demolition of structure(s) or pavement disturbing ≥7,000 ft2 of land
  • Any work outside the footprint of a new building, remodel, addition, tenant improvement or redevelopment related to the building project such as: onsite utility replacement, material stockpiles, pavement replacement or striping, landscaping, and similar work**

**An SDEV is usually needed in relation to a BLDCN or BLDCA even when site work falls below the area thresholds listed above

 

SDEV Permit Classification and Fee Structure
The table below outlines some of the project activities and scopes that are used in determining the SDEV permit type and its associated fee.

Site Development Permit Classifications
  Minor Major
Level 1 Minor Level 1 permit

  • Limited onsite work that totals*:
    • <2,000 square feet new/replaced hard surface;
    • <50 cubic yards grading; and
    • <7,000 square feet disturbed area
  • New or altered engineered facilities (i.e. pump, manhole, treatment facility)

*Issued in association with another commercial permit (BLDCN, BLDCA) or in connection with a code violation. 

Charged a flat rate due at permit issuance.**

Major Level 1 permit

  • 5,000 square feet to <50,000 square feet new/replaced hard surface, OR
  • 500 cubic yards to <10,000 cubic yards grading, OR
  • 1 acre to <10 acres disturbed area

 

 

 

Charged a flat rate due at permit issuance.**

Level 2 Minor Level 2 permit

  • 2,000 square feet to <5,000 square feet new/replaced hard surface, OR
  • 50 cubic yards to <500 cubic yards grading, OR
  • 7,000 square feet to <1 acre disturbed area

Charged a flat rate due at permit issuance.**

Major Level 2 permit

  • ≥50,000 square feet new/replaced hard surface, OR
  • ≥10,000 cubic yards grading, OR
  • ≥10 acres disturbed area
  • Cumulative impact projects

Charged an hourly rate on a monthly basis from the time that City Staff starts reviewing.**

** Additional information about fees is available on the Fee Estimator page.

Submittal Requirements
The SDEV Document Checklist provides information regarding submittal requirements. Depending on the scope of the project, engineered drawings or reports may be required. The Pre-Application process helps identify the need for engineered plans.

Other Permits May Be Needed
Other permits are often needed in combination with an SDEV permit, and depend on the work being performed. Permit Tip Sheets are available online at: https://www.tacomapermits.org/tip-sheet-index. Below is a  list of additional permits types that are often associated with onsite work:

  • Storm Connection (STORM)
  • Right-of-Way Construction (RCON)
  • Side Sewer (SEWER)
  • New Commercial Building (BLDCN)
  • Commercial Building Alteration (BLDCA)
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