Over the Counter (OTC) Requests

Click here to open a PDF version of this tip sheet. 

Save a Trip with ePermits!

The ePermit process allows you to complete an application, pay the required fee, and have the permit issued immediately, available 24/7. Getting an ePermit.

Reduce Lobby Wait Time

Increase your chance of getting a permit issued over-the-counter by scheduling an appointment before your visit. Utilizing our online services to get a project started can greatly reduce the amount of time spent waiting in our lobby.

Set an Appointment

After you have completed the online process and received a permit number (ie. BLDCA20-0234) email AppServices@cityoftacoma.org your request. Include the permit number in the subject line and an indication that OTC review is being requested in the body of the email.

Example Email to Application Services

If Additional Review is Needed

If staff determines the scope of the project requires a more extensive review and/or if the plans require revisions, the permit will not be issued on the day of the OTC meeting. Follow up information will be provided with additional guidance on How to Submit Plan Revisions.

OTC Meeting VIA Phone

If a phone meeting is preferred, be sure to clearly state that as part of your OTC appointment email to AppServices@cityoftacoma.org. If it is determined that the permit can be issued on the same day as the phone meeting, the reviewer will sign-off and the permit will be issued online.

If the project scope is minor enough, there’s a chance that the assigned reviewer may even be able to approve the request prior to the scheduled OTC meeting date.

Active Business License Requirement

Check the status of your business license before coming in if you are a contractor that is expecting over-the-counter issuance of any permit. All contractors working at a job site in Tacoma must also be licensed with the City of Tacoma. For Residential projects, the City can only issue permits to either the property owner or a licensed contractor. For Commercial projects, the City can only issue permits to licensed contractors, owners, or tenants. For questions contact the Tax & License office, located on the 2nd floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building.

Bond Requirements

Ensure that your company has a right-of-way (ROW) bond on file if you are performing work within the ROW. With few exceptions, when work is being performed within the City right-of-way it must be done by a licensed contractor who has an active $15,000 ROW bond on file with the City prior to the permit being issued. If you are unsure about the current status of your company’s ROW bond, you can call 253-591-5030 or ask that this status be checked as part of the email request to set an appointment. ROW & Performance Bond Tip Sheet.

What to Expect

After you’ve utilized our online services to submit an application and requested the meeting the Application Services Group may send some additional information. This ensures that the appointment goes as smoothly as possible. This may include tip sheets, links to required forms, checklists, or a notification of missing items. Getting this information prior to the scheduled meeting allows for additional opportunity to address potential issues and increase the chances of Over-The-Counter Issuance.

If you are bringing additional information to the meeting, please make sure the information is available on a USB Drive (Electronic File Standards). Paper plans larger than 8.5” by 11” may not be able to be scanned in at our office.


*Commercial Alterations (BLDCA)

Due to the variety of projects that fall into the Commercial category, the City doesn’t have a list of criteria that expressly qualifies a project as minor work. However, the following items are indicators that the project will likely not be issued over-the-counter:

  1. Project value is more than $50,000
  2. Associated with a land use permit
  3. Requires review from Source Control (Examples of projects that require approval from Source Control can include permits related to a restaurant, brewery, distillery, or marijuana business).
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