Over the Counter (OTC) Permits

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Over the Counter Review

The over-the-counter (OTC) permit application process is a briefer version of our traditional application process that can be done in the Planning and Development Services (PDS) Permit Center for same-day review and permit issuance.  Please note that although many projects may be eligible for OTC permits, there are some that will still require the traditional approach. The estimated time to get an OTC permit is 1 – 2 hours unless it is not eligible.

The City has attempted to streamline the process as much as possible, but each project is individual and must be reviewed prior to the City making the final determination that an OTC permit may be issued.  OTC review may be done during walk-in hours without an appointment – except for Commercial permits that require a coaching meeting with an engineer (see OTC permit descriptions).

Among the permits not suited to the OTC process are those for shoreline properties, sensitive areas, properties with septic systems and those properties that require geotechnical analysis due to steep slopes, unstable soils.

To Be Eligible For OTC Review

  1. The project must be one of the permit types listed in the table.
  2. The property is not located in the flood plain, critical areas, historic district, or shoreline district.
  3. The project is minor and does not require structural review.
  4. The project does not need more than two reviewers.
  5. All required bonding and licensing is obtained.

What to Bring

  1. Bring all documents and information required for review. Please see review checklists online at TacomaPermits.org.
  2. Bring a form of payment for the permit.

Over the Counter (OTC) Eligible Permits


Residential Alteration

–   window replacement

–   woodstove

–   siding modification or replacement

–   roof overlay with prior

pre-inspection completed


Residential Building Demolition

–   complete demolition of a building


Residential Mechanical

–   like for like replacement

–   heat pump, furnace


Residential Plumbing

–   like for like replacement

–   re-pipe, water heater

**Commercial  By appointment only. 

See the Building Coaching Tip Sheet for more information.



Commercial Alteration

– minor work not involving additions, change of use, or land use permitting



Commercial Mechanical or Plumbing

– like for like replacement or repair


Commercial Demolition

– complete building demolition less than 12,000 sf cumulative floor area

Site Development

Right-of-Way Use

– overtime parking

– barricade


Right-of-Way Construction

paving, driveway, sidewalk

–   repair or replace only

STORM Storm Connection
SEWER Sanitary Connection
WATER Water Connection

*Single-Family, Duplex, Townhomes of 1-2 units
**Commercial, Multifamily or Townhouse buildings 3+ units, Mixed-Use, all other Non-Residential construction

Electrical Permits

All electrical permits are issued by Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU). Please contact Tacoma Power for more information at www.mytpu.org/tacomapower.


You can find our Getting Started Guide, Submittal  Checklists and link to our online permit portal (ACA) at www.TacomaPermits.org.

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