Filing Procedure and Fee.
Determination of Complete Application.
Owner's Free Consent.
Posting Requirements.
Departmental Review.
Review Criteria.
Preliminary Approval.
Appeal Procedure.
Final Short Plat Approval.

Every short plat and short subdivision shall comply with the provisions of this Chapter.

A. Exemptions. The provisions of this Chapter are not applicable to the following:

1. All exemptions listed in Section 17.02.010.

2. Deed releases, for the purpose of obtaining building financing, provided that a short plat is required if said parcel is separately sold or if all land specified by the contract is not acquired.

3. Divisions which were surveyed in accordance with the Survey Recording Act and are recorded with the Auditor prior to August 13, 1974.

4. Up to four Model Homes may be constructed on a single tract of land without short platting provided the City has approved a preliminary subdivision which includes the specific lots upon which the Model Homes are to be located. The subdivision shall be completed and the final map recorded prior to the sale of any of the model home units.

5. Divisions made by court order; provided, that this exemption shall not apply to land divided pursuant to dissolution or any partition proceedings.

6. Any division of land for use solely for the installation of electric power, telephone, water supply, sewer service or other utility facilities of a similar or related nature; provided, however, that any remaining lot or lots are consistent with applicable zoning and land use plans.

7. Any division or divisions of land for the sole purpose of enabling the City or other public agency to acquire land, either by outright purchase or exchange, for port purposes, boat moorage or launching sites, or for park, viewpoint, recreational, educational or other public purposes; provided, however, that any remaining lot or lots are consistent with applicable zoning and land use plans.

B. The entire original tract (except adjacent platted or short platted land) shall be included within one short plat application.

C. Further divisions. Land within a short subdivision shall not be further divided in any manner for a period of five (5) years from the date said approved short plat is recorded with the Auditor without the filing of a final plat on the land which is proposed to be further divided, except that when the short plat contains fewer than nine parcels, the owner who filed the short plat may file an alteration with the five (5) year period to create a total of up to nine (9) lots within the original short plat boundary. This requirement shall be stated on the face of the short plat. (Ord. 591 § 48, 2015; Ord. 500 § 4, 2009; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.020Filing Procedure and Fee.

An application for a short subdivision shall include a completed application form, six (6) full size paper prints and six (6) 11”x 17” reduced copies of the proposed short plat showing all required information along with a non-refundable application fee as set forth in separate Resolution.

For purposes of RCW 58.17.033, a complete application for short plat approval must contain the information and documents required by this section.

A short plat shall meet the following standards:

A. Drawn in ink to a scale not smaller than one inch equals one hundred feet (1" = 50’) or other approved scale on a sheet size of 18" x 24".

B. The Plat shall show the boundary and dimensions of the “original tract” including its Assessor's parcel number, section, township and range, and all adjoining public or private streets and identifying names as such.

C. A vicinity map drawn to a scale of four inches equals one mile (4"= 1 mile) or other approved scale of sufficient detail to orient the location of the original tract.

D. Name and address of the owner of record of the “original tract,” scale of the drawing, and north directional arrow.

E. All lots shall be identified by numerical designation. The dimensions of each lot shall be shown.

F. Width and location of access to all short platted lots.

G. The location and use of all existing buildings on the original tract.

H. Space or a second 18" x 24" plat map sheet shall be reserved for comments and appropriate City signatures.

I. Where a survey is required, the form of the plat shall be as required by the Survey Recording Act. (Chapter 50 Washington Laws of 1973, or as amended.) (Ord. 591 § 49, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.025Determination of Complete Application.

Within 28 days of receiving an application for preliminary plat approval containing all information required by Section 17.22.020 of this Code, the Community Development Department shall issue a determination of completeness or incompleteness as required by RCW 36.70B.070. The Community Development Department is responsible for complying with all other requirements of RCW 36.70B.070. (Ord. 591 § 50, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.030Owner's Free Consent.

The contract purchasers shall sign a statement prescribed by the Community Development Department signifying that the plat is made with their free consent and in accordance with the desires of the owners. (Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.035Posting Requirements.

After acceptance of a short plat application, notice of application shall be posted in accordance with the provisions of LMC 18A.02.670. (Ord. 591 § 51, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)


Recordable surveys shall be required for all short plats and short subdivisions. All surveys shall be accomplished as required by WAC 332-130 and the “Survey Recording Act,” (RCW 58.09), except an additional recording will not be required for the “Survey Recording Act.”

All lot staking shall be completed by the certifying professional land surveyor prior to the recording of the short plat.

All short plat corners, including interior lot corners, shall be staked with steel rebar or metal pipe with a cap which permanently bears the land surveyor's registration number. When the plat corner(s) or lot corner(s) falls in a body of water, over the edge of a steep slope or other inaccessible area, an offset corner will be permitted. When the boundary line of a short plat follows a meandering line, corners shall be set as directed by the City. A pre-submittal meeting with City staff to discuss corner locations is recommended.

When the legal description of the short plat utilizes a partial or complete section subdivisional breakdown to establish the short plat boundaries, section subdivision survey information in accordance with the requirements of WAC 332-130-030 shall be shown on the short plat map.

All reference monuments used in the establishment of the short plat corners shall be identified, described, and noted as set or found on the short plat map. When appropriate, the short plat survey shall reference the recorded or previous survey that was the basis for the short plat survey.

When the short plat is adjacent to a constructed City street and the short plat corner(s) or its offset represents a 1/16th corner, quarter corner, section corner, or donation land claim corner that is not of record or is lost or obliterated, a City standard monument(s) shall be placed in the City street. In cases where a monument of record is found, the existing corner does not have to be replaced.

Whenever a short plat is adjacent to an existing City street or right-of-way, the centerline of that street shall be located on the short plat drawing. If the existing constructed City street or maintained street section falls outside of the documented right-of-way, the surveyor shall identify the existing edge of pavement and limits of the maintained street section on the short plat drawing and show its relationship to said centerline. (Ord. 591 § 52, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.050Departmental Review.

A. The Engineering Manager's Office shall review a short plat for adequacy of access, storm water drainage facilities, public sewer system, survey accuracy, and feasibility for building sites.

B. The Community Development Department shall review the proposed short plat for conformance with the Land Use and Development Code (LMC Title 18A), other applicable land use laws, the comprehensive plan and the subdivision code.

C. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department shall review the proposed short plat for adequacy of potable water supply, and provisions for sanitary sewage disposal. The Lakewood Water District, or other water provider, shall provide information regarding the public water system. This will typically be in the form of a Letter of Water Availability from the District.

D. The Fire Chief shall review the proposed short plat for adequacy of the fire protection water system and access for fire fighting equipment.

E. The Pierce County Assessor’s Office shall review the proposed short plat with regard to map and document format, tax status, and legal description.

F. The Pierce County Sewer Utility shall review the project with regard to sanitary sewer availability, appropriate easements, and details of any sanitary sewer infrastructure and connections.

The City may require that any review fees payable to outside agencies be made directly with that agency prior to submittal of the short plat application. (Ord. 591 § 53, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.060Review Criteria.

A. Access.

1. General. The proposed short plat shall be reviewed for adequate ingress and egress to all proposed lots. Extension of streets or access rights from property line to property line of the short subdivision land may be required so that the street may be extended in the future. If there is other reasonable access available, the Engineering Manager may limit the location of direct access to City arterials or other City streets. When an adjoining landowner will be obligated to construct or maintain a future street, a note to this effect shall be stated on the face of the short plat.

2. Street Reserved Areas. Where a City arterial may, or is being planned for a short subdivision land area, the Engineering Manager may require that a sixty foot (60') wide right-of-way area be reserved as a street reserved area for a future street, if all legal requirements for such a dedication are met.

3. Private Streets. Private streets are not normally permitted, but may be allowed when the Community Development Director and City Engineer determine that the most logical development of the land requires that the lots be served by private streets or easements. Private street plats shall be reviewed per Chapter 17.26 of this title.

B. Drainage. The proposed short plat shall be reviewed for adequate drainage facilities. Requirements for any necessary facilities may be required to be written on the face of the short plat map.

C. Sewers or Septic Tanks. The proposed short plat shall be reviewed for potential sewer or septic tank adequacy. If known local conditions exist which may affect future building sites, these conditions may be required to be stated on the face of the short plat.

D. Feasibility for Building Sites. Areas which are known or suspected to be poor building sites because of geological hazard, flooding, poor drainage or swamp conditions, mud slides or avalanche, may be noted on the face of the short plat.

E. Water Supply and Fire Protection. The proposed plat shall be reviewed for potential adequacy of water supply and fire protection. Items A through E above may be considered as criteria for which a short plat may be denied. Existing City standards shall be used during the review process. (Ord. 591 § 54, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.070Preliminary Approval.

A. Procedure. An application for a short plat shall be reviewed as a Process II permit type, which does not require a public hearing but does provide for public notice and comment. (See LMC 18A.02.545). The initial decision on a short plat application is made by the Community Development Director. The Director’s decision may be appealed to the City’s hearing examiner.

1. Upon receipt of a complete application for a short plat, the Community Development Department shall forward copies of the application and short plat map to the Public Works Department, the Fire Marshal, the Pierce County Assessor’s Office, the Pierce County Public Works Sewer Utility, the Lakewood Water District, any affected public utility agencies, and the Tacoma-County Health Department. The initial review by the departments/agencies of the proposed short plat shall be completed within fifteen (15) days, unless, upon the request of the Community Development Department, the applicant consents to an extension of such time period. The proposed preliminary short plat shall be considered under the subdivision regulations and zoning or other land use control ordinances in effect at the time a fully completed application for preliminary short plat approval has been submitted to the city.

2. Each department or official shall either recommend approval, disapproval, or revision of the short plat within the fifteen day initial review period. The Community Development Director shall have the final authority to approve, approve with conditions or deny a short plat application.

3. If returned for revision, the applicant or representative shall submit six prints to the Community Development Department reflecting the required revisions within sixty days after any review comments are provided by the reviewing agencies. Should the applicant require an extension of time to satisfy the requirements that were requested during the initial fifteen-day review, additional time may be granted upon written request.

4. Due to the complexity of the proposal, the applicant may desire to request the following to extend the life of the application.

a. Request in writing from the applicant that the application for the proposed short plat be placed on hold for due cause. “Due cause” would constitute a situation that was beyond the applicant's controls; i.e., required environmental checklist, Health Department requirement for viewing high water table on the site prior to review for waste disposal, or water availability report required by the State.

The request shall be accompanied by an estimated time line for completion of the required additional material, studies, or review. The hold will be placed upon the application for a specified period of time.

b. Request in writing by the applicant that a time extension would be necessary to provide the reviewing departments the necessary material, documents, and studies, as requested in the initial City review. The Community Development Department may provide a second additional extension, not to exceed one hundred eighty days. A fee may be charged for the extended time, per the fee schedule.

c. Any applicable time limitations for processing an application, including time limits set forth in RCW 36.70B, RCW 58.17, LMC Title 18A, or this Title, shall be tolled while the applicant responds to requests for revision or additional information within the timeframes set forth in this section.

5. The applicant is required to submit the revisions as requested, at the expiration of the allowable time line, along with six prints to the Community Development Department. The reviewing departments shall have a fourteen (14) day review period to consider the revised plans. At the conclusion of the review period, the reviewing department directors or authorized representatives shall notify the applicant whether the application is complete or what additional information is necessary (RCW 36.70B.070 (4)(b)).

6. If the project applicant does not respond to requests for project amendments or additional information within the timeframes specified herein, the Community Development Department may deny the application without prejudice.

B. Required Written Findings for Short Subdivisions. The Community Development Director or designee shall inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served by the establishment of the short subdivision and dedication.

A proposed short subdivision and dedication shall not be approved unless the Director or designee makes written findings that:

1. Appropriate provisions are made for the public health, safety, and general welfare, for open spaces, drainage ways, streets or streets, alleys, other public ways, transit stops, potable water supplies time limits, sanitary wastes, parks and recreation, play-grounds, schools and school grounds and all other relevant facts, including sidewalks and other planning features that assure safe walking conditions for students who only walk to and from school; and

2. The public use and interest will be served by the platting of such subdivision and dedication. If the Director or designee finds that the proposed short subdivision make such appropriate provisions and that the public use and interest will be served, then the Director or designee shall approve the proposed short subdivision and dedication.

C. Notice of Return to Applicant for Cause. If a short plat is not in proper order or cannot be approved in its present form, a letter postmarked prior to the expiration of said thirty-day period, shall be sent to the applicant (by the disapproving department) to notify him of why approval cannot be given in its present form.

D. Effect of Approval. The Community Development Director’s initial approval shall set forth the findings required by Section B above, and may include specific conditions of approval. All required improvements must be installed and a copy of the final short plat map that responds to any conditions of approval must be submitted within three (3) years of the date of the initial approval for final review and recording. An additional one year extension of time may be granted by the Community Development Director upon a showing of good cause beyond the control of the applicant that has delayed the ability of the applicant to complete the subdivision. The approval of a short plat shall not be a guarantee that future permits will be granted for any structures or development within said area and a notation to this effect shall be stated on the face of the short plat. Provided further that land in short subdivisions may not be further divided in any manner within a period of five years without the filing of a preliminary and final plat, except that when the short plat contains fewer than nine parcels, the owner may file a short plat alteration or new short plat application within the five-year period to create up to a total of nine lots within the original short plat boundaries. Any such alteration application shall be reviewed de novo on its own merits. (Ord. 591 § 55, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)


Prior to the sale, lease or contract to sell of any lot, parcel or tract within a short subdivision, a copy of the approved short plat shall be given to the prospective purchaser or lessee by the owner, owner's agent, or any person, firm or corporation who closes or escrows the transaction. (Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.090Appeal Procedure.

Any aggrieved party with the City’s decision on a short plat, may appeal such decision to the Hearing Examiner in accordance with chapter 1.36 LMC. Decisions not appealed are deemed final and conclusive. (Ord. 585 § 27, 2014; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.095Final Short Plat Approval.

Upon completion of any and all conditions of the preliminary short plat approval, or alternatively, the posting of an appropriate performance bond or cash deposit in lieu thereof to the satisfaction of the City Engineer, the developer shall present to the Community Development Department one copy of the approved short plat map for final approval and recordation. The final short plat map shall contain a certificate giving a full and correct description of the lands divided as they appear on the plat drawing, including a statement that the subdivision of property has been made with the free consent and in accordance with the desires of the owner(s) or contractor purchasers. If the subdivision of property includes a dedication, the certification shall also contain the dedication of all streets and other areas to the public, and any other required dedications as required by LMC 17.16.020. Said certificate shall be signed and acknowledged before a notary public by all parties having any interest in the lands subdivided.

The Community Development Department shall arrange for all responsible agencies to sign the plat map, provided that the applicant may secure required approval signatures on the final plat map prior to submittal to the Community Development Department.

Pursuant to RCW 58.17.140(2), a final short plat map shall be approved, disapproved, or returned to the applicant within thirty days from the date of filing thereof, unless the applicant consents to an extension of such time period.

Development of lots created in a final short plat shall be regulated by the land use controls in effect at the time that the complete preliminary short plat application was filed, for a period of two (2) years from the date of the final short plat recordation. After two years, the lots created by the short plat shall be regulated by the land use controls then in effect. (Ord. 591 § 56, 2015.)


Amendments to short plats may be approved by the Community Development Department by approving an amendment note which states to the effect that this amended short plat supersedes “Short Plat No. .” The note must specify the changes and before the Community Development Department can approve the amended short plat, all City requirements and conditions stated on the original short plat, must be stated on the amended short plat.

If any City department's or other agency’s previous approval may be affected by the amendment (as determined by the Community Development Department), said department or agency will be notified of the change and be given the opportunity to comment before the Community Development Department approves the amendment. In addition, any amendment involving public dedication must be processed as provided in RCW 00.17.212 or 58.17.215. A fee as set forth in separate Resolution shall be paid the Community Development Department for the processing of an amended short plat.

The Assessor-Treasurer's Office must again signify that the current real estate taxes are paid before the amended short plat is recorded. Upon recording, the amended short plat is deemed approved by City. (Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.22.110Large Lot Division. (Repealed)

(Repealed Ord. 591 § 57, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)