City of Lakewood Subdivision Regulations.
Division of Land by Streets or Rights-of-Way.
Subdivisions in Flood Areas.
Subdivisions Adjacent to State Highways.
17.02.010City of Lakewood Subdivision Regulations.

This title shall be known as the City of Lakewood Subdivision Regulations, hereafter referred to as “this Title.” (Ord. 591 § 1, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)


This Title is adopted pursuant to Chapter 58.17 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). (Ord. 591 § 2, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)


The intent of this section is to provide criteria, regulations and standards to govern the subdividing of land within the City and to:

A. Promote the public health, safety and general welfare in accordance with standards established by the State and the City;

B. To implement the Comprehensive Plan;

C. Promote effective use of land by preventing the overcrowding or scattered development which would injure health, safety or the general welfare due to the lack of water supplies, sanitary sewer, drainage, transportation, parks and recreation areas, or other public services, or excessive expenditure of public funds for such services;

D. Avoid congestion and promote safe and convenient travel by the public on streets and highways through the coordination of streets within a subdivision with existing and planned streets;

E. Provide for adequate light and air;

F. Provide for proper ingress and egress;

G. Provide for the housing and commercial needs of the community;

H. Provide uniform monumenting of land divisions and conveyance of accurate legal descriptions; and

I. Protect environmentally sensitive areas;

J. Encourage the conservation of non-renewable energy resources.

K. Provide for adequate roadway and utility infrastructure with provisions for on-going maintenance and operations costs. (Ord. 591 § 3, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)


Every subdivision shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 58.17 Revised Code of Washington, this Title and all future amendments or applicable Federal, State or local laws. After final plat, short plat, or binding site plan approval, any subsequent division of platted or short platted lots, parcels, tracts, sites or divisions shall be allowed only if the procedures of this Title are first followed, and these requirements shall be applicable to all plats approved prior to the effective date of this Title. The provisions of this Title shall not apply to the following:

A. Cemeteries and other burial plots while used for that purpose;

B. Divisions of land into lots or tracts each of which is one thirty-second (1/32) of a Section of land, or larger, or twenty (20) acres or larger if the land is not capable of description as a fraction of a Section of land; PROVIDED, the division meets the minimum lot size zoning requirements for the area involved and provided further, that for the purpose of computing the size of any lot under this item which borders on a street or public way, the lot size shall be expanded to include that area which would be bounded by the center line of the street or public way and the side lot lines of the lot running perpendicular to such center line;

C. Divisions made by testamentary provisions or the laws of descent, provided that each lot shall meet all applicable minimum lot size requirements.

D. The transfer of contiguous unplatted lots if:

1. The lots were created in compliance with all applicable State and City subdivision regulations in effect at the time of the creation of said lots; or

2. The lots transferred and remaining lots are improved with dwellings. Provided that transfers pursuant to item 1. or 2. shall not be effective until the proponent is issued a certificate of compliance from the Community Development Department. A certificate shall be issued when the owner or applicant shows that the lot conforms to the criteria above.

E. A division which is made by subjecting a portion of a parcel or tract of land to Chapter 64.32 RCW, the Horizontal Property Regimes Act (Condominiums), or 64.34 RCW (the Condominium Act) if the City has approved a binding site plan for all of such land.

F. A division for the purpose of leasing land for facilities providing personal wireless services while used for that purpose. “Personal wireless services” means any federally licensed personal wireless service. “Facilities” means unstaffed facilities that are used for the transmission or reception, or both, of wireless communication services including, but not necessarily limited to, antenna arrays, transmission cables, equipment shelters, and support structures. (Ord. 591 § 4, 2015; Ord. 500 § 2, 2009; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.02.030Division of Land by Streets or Rights-of-Way.

The City declares that the following shall not, of themselves, result in the division of a parcel:

A. A State or Federal road or highway; or

B. A City street that has been adopted as part of the City street system; or

C. A City street right-of-way that has been acquired or accepted by the City but is an unopened City street as defined in Section 2.00 of the City Site Development Regulations, or as amended. (Ord. 591 § 5, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)


As used in this Title, unless the context or subject matter clearly requires otherwise, the following words or phrases shall have the following meanings:

A. “Binding Site Plan.” A Binding Site Plan is an alternative method for subdividing land where the property interests created continue to collectively function as one site with regard to elements such as access, circulation, open space, landscaping, drainage, maintenance, or parking. A binding site plan is used primarily in conjunction with commercial and industrial developments and the establishment of residential condominium projects. A binding site plan includes a drawing to a scale as specified by the Community Development Department. The site plan shall:

1. Identify and show the area and location of all streets, improvements, utilities, open space;

2. Contain inscriptions or attachments setting forth such appropriate limitations and conditions for the use of the land as are established by the City Hearing Examiner or other appropriate City Department or government body having authority to approve the site plan;

3. Contain provisions requiring that all development occurring within the proposal's boundaries be in conformity with the site plan.

4. Delineate proposed lots or units intended to be created as discrete ownership interests subject to sale or transfer. If appropriate, such delineation shall be subject to the provisions of RCW 64.34 (the Condominium Act).

B. “Block” is a group of lots, tracts or parcels within well defined and fixed boundaries, often surrounded by roadways.

C. “Council” means the City Council.

D. “County Assessor-Treasurer” shall be as defined in the Pierce County Charter.

E. “County Auditor” shall be as defined in the Pierce County Charter.

F. “City Engineer” shall be the person appointed by the City Manager as the City Engineering Manager.

G. “Dedication” is the deliberate appropriation of land by an owner for any general or public uses, reserving no other rights than those compatible with the full exercise and enjoyment of the public uses to which the property has been devoted. Dedications may be accomplished by showing the dedication on a final plat, short plat or binding site plan presented to the City for final approval and recordation. Dedications may also be accomplished via transfer by separate deed. Unless otherwise specifically indicated, title to the dedicated land shall vest in the appropriate governmental unit.

H. “Developer” shall mean the person, party, firm or corporation who applies for approval of a subdivision, short plat or binding site plan.

I. “Examiner” means the land use hearing examiner who is herein authorized to approve subdivisions, and hear appeals on short subdivisions and binding site plans.

J. “Final Plat” is the final drawing of the subdivision and dedication drawn to a scale not smaller than one inch equals one hundred feet (1" = 100') unless approval of another scale is given by the Community Development Director, on standard 18" x 24" sheet size, prepared for filing for record with the County Auditor and containing all elements and requirements set forth in State law and in this Title.

K. “Geological Hazard” means any hazard caused by natural or artificial causes which may damage persons or property and which would include but not be limited to slides, slippage or instability of earth, rock and soil. Geological hazards are generally addressed in the City’s Critical Areas and Resource Lands regulations (LMC Title 14A).

L. “Improvement” shall mean any thing or structure constructed for the benefit of all or some residents of the subdivision or the general public such as but not limited to streets, alleys, storm drainage systems and ditches, sanitary sewer pipes or main lines, water lines, services, and mains, and storm drainage containment facilities.

M. “Legal Lot of Record” means a legally created lot. A person may establish that a lot has been legally created, by providing one (1) of the following:

1. A copy of a recorded formal plat, short plat, binding site plan, or subdivision approved by Pierce County or the City of Lakewood pursuant to RCW 58.17 or RCW 58.16 separately describing the lot.

2. A copy of the recorded boundary line adjustment or lot combination approved by Pierce County or the City of Lakewood separately describing the lot.

3. Documentation that the creation of the lot was exempt from the provisions of the Pierce County or City of Lakewood Subdivision Regulations.

4. A recorded deed, contract of sale, mortgage, survey, or tax segregation executed prior to August 13, 1974 that separately describes the lot.

The most recent recorded action or instrument establishing the boundary of a lot shall control. Any point within the interior of a lot shall be considered to be within one, and only one, legal lot of record.

N. “Lot” is a recognized unit of property with a written or platted legal description that addresses permissions or constraints upon its development. A “legal lot of record” is a lot that has been legally created as demonstrated by compliance with LMC 18A.50.115(A). Alternatively, a legal lot of record may be established through the Certificate of Land Division Compliance provisions of this title. A “parcel” is an identification of land for taxation purposes. A parcel may or may not be a legal lot of record.

O. “Model Home.” A model home for the purpose of this Code shall be defined as a dwelling in accordance with the City Zoning Code.

P. “Original Tract” means a unit of land which the applicant holds under single or unified ownership, or in which the applicant holds controlling ownership and the configuration of which may be determined by the fact that all land abutting said tract is separately owned by others, not including the applicant or applicants; PROVIDED, that where a husband and wife own contiguous lots in separate or community ownership, said contiguous lots shall constitute the original tract.

Q. “Planning Agency” means the City Community Development Department together with the Planning Commission.

R. “Planning Commission” means that body as defined in Chapter 35A.63 RCW as designated by the Council in Chapter 2.90 of the Lakewood Municipal Code to perform a planning function.

S. “Reserved is a map or representation of a subdivision, showing thereon the division of a tract or parcel of land into lots, blocks, streets and alleys or other divisions and dedications.

T. “Preliminary Plat” is a neat and approximate drawing of a proposed subdivision showing the general layout of streets and alleys, lots, blocks and restrictive covenants to be applicable to the subdivision which shall furnish a basis for the approval or disapproval of the general layout of a subdivision.

U. “Reserved Street Area” means a defined area of land within the short plat or subdivision which is required by the City Engineering Manager to be reserved for a future street, and said area shall be dedicated to the City at the time of approval, but the street need not be constructed by the applicant or developer until such time as stated in the ordinance. Setbacks shall be established as if the reserved street area were dedicated.

V. “Short Plat” is the map or representation of a short subdivision.

W. “Short Subdivision” is any division or redivision of land into nine (9) or fewer lots, tracts, parcels, sites or subdivisions for the purpose of sale, lease or transfer of ownership.

X. “Subdivision” is any division or redivision of land into ten (10) or more lots, tracts, parcels, sites or division for the purpose of sale, lease, or transfer of ownership except as provided in Subsection M. of this Section. (Ord. 591 § 6, 2015; Ord. 500 § 3, 2009; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.02.040Subdivisions in Flood Areas.

The city shall consider the physical characteristics of any proposed subdivision site and may disapprove a proposed plat or short plat because of flood, inundation, or wetland conditions. Construction of protective improvements may be required as a condition of approval, and such improvements shall be noted on the final plat.

No plat shall be approved for the subdivision of any land situated in a flood control zone as provided in chapter 86.16 RCW without the prior written approval of the Department of Ecology of the state of Washington. (Ord. 591 § 7, 2015.)

17.02.045Subdivisions Adjacent to State Highways.

Pursuant to RCW 58.17.155, whenever the city receives an application for the approval of a plat or short plat that is located adjacent to the right-of-way of a state highway, the Community Development Department shall give written notice of the application, including a legal description of the subdivision or short subdivision and a location map, to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The Department of Transportation shall, within fourteen days after receiving the notice, submit to the responsible administrator who furnished the notice a statement with any information that the Department of Transportation deems to be relevant about the effect of the proposed short subdivision upon the legal access to the state highway, the traffic carrying capacity of the state highway and the safety of the users of the state highway. (Ord. 591 § 8, 2015.)