Complete Application.
Determination of Complete Application.
Review and Approval.
Recording and Binding Effect.
Amendment, Modifications and Vacations.
Administrative Rules.

The purpose of this chapter is to create an alternative method for dividing commercially and industrially zoned property, as authorized by RCW 58.17.035. On sites which are fully developed, the binding site plan merely creates or alters interior lot lines. In all cases the binding site plan ensures, through written agreements among all lot owners, that the collective lots continue to function as one site concerning but not limited to: lot access; interior circulation; open space; landscaping and drainage; facility maintenance; and coordinated parking. (Ord. 591 § 58, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)


A. Any person seeking the use of a binding site plan to divide the person’s property for the purpose of sale, lease or transfer of ownership of commercially or industrially zoned property is required to apply for, complete and have approved a binding site plan prior to any property division, as provided in RCW 58.17 and as required by this chapter.

B. The site which is subject to the binding site plan shall consist of one (1) or more contiguous lots legally created.

C. The site which is subject to the binding site plan may be reviewed independently for fully developed sites; or, concurrently with a commercial site development permit application for undeveloped land; or in conjunction with a valid commercial site development permit.

D. The binding site plan process merely creates or alters lot lines and does not authorize substantial improvements or changes to the property or the uses thereon. Improvements shall be authorized through separate zoning and building permit processes. New improvements shall be incorporated into the binding site plan as appropriate. (Ord. 591 § 59, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.30.030Complete Application.

A proposed binding site plan shall be considered under the zoning and other land use control ordinances in effect on the land at the time a fully completed application is filed with the department. A complete application for binding site plan approval shall consist of:

A. A completed application form provided by the department, signed by all property owners or their authorized agents, with supporting documents as required below and which contains sufficient information to determine compliance with adopted rules and regulations including, but not limited to RCW 43.21C, SEPA as implemented by WAC 197-11; Surface Water Management; Roads Standards; Fire Code; City Environmental Procedures; Zoning; Shoreline Management; and administrative rules adopted to implement any such code or ordinance provision; Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department rules and regulations; and City approved utility comprehensive plans;

B. Six (6) full size and six (6) 11”x 17” reductions of an approved commercial site development permit; or, a proposed site plan prepared by a professional land surveyor, licensed in the State of Washington, in a form prescribed by the Director. At a minimum, the proposed site plan shall include:

1. The location and size of all proposed units or lots;

2. Proposed and existing structures including elevations and floor plans as known, (plans which show building envelopes rather than footprints must address post-construction treatment of unoccupied areas of the binding envelopes);

3. All proposed or existing uses;

4. The location of proposed or existing open space including any required landscaped areas.

5. The location and identification of critical areas;

6. The layout of an internal vehicular and pedestrian circulation system, including proposed ingress and egress for vehicles;

7. The number and location of proposed or existing parking spaces on and off the site;

8. A drainage plan which will accommodate the maximum proposed square footage of impervious surface and the maximum proposed square footage of impervious surface exposed to vehicular use, subject to the requirements of City’s Surface Water Design Manual or other city surface water design standards.

9. The location and size of utility trunk lines and service laterals serving the site;

10. The location and size of water bodies and drainage features, both natural and manmade;

11. A grading plan showing proposed clearing and tree retention and the existing and proposed topography, detailed to five-foot contours, unless smaller contour intervals are otherwise required by the City Code or rules and regulations promulgated thereunder;

12. A layout of sewers and the proposed water distribution system;

13. Proposed easements and access; and

C. A completed environmental checklist, if required by the State Environmental Policy Act and implementing ordinances;

D. A downstream drainage analysis or any other requirement specified in the City’s Surface Water Design Manual, Site Development Regulations or Surface Water Policy Ordinance;

E. All covenants, easements, maintenance agreements or other documents regarding mutual use of parking and access;

F. Copies of all easements, deed restrictions or other encumbrances restricting the use of the site;

G. A phasing plan and time schedule, if the site is intended to be developed in phases or if all building permits will not be submitted within three years;

H. Documentation of the date and method of segregation for the subject property (original tract) verifying that the lot or lots were not created in violation of the short subdivision or subdivision laws in effect at the time of creation;

I. A list of any other development permits or permit applications having been filed for the same site; and

J. The payment of fees;

K. The Community Development Director may waive specific submittal requirements determined to be unnecessary for review of the application. (Ord. 591 § 59, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.30.040Determination of Complete Application.

Within 28 days of receiving an application for binding site plan approval containing all information required by Section 17.30.030 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 § 60, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.30.045Review and Approval.

A. Procedure.

An application for a binding site plan 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 binding site plan 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 binding site plan, the Community Development Department shall forward copies of the application and binding site plan 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 binding site plan 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.

2. Each department or official shall either recommend approval, disapproval, or revision of the binding site plan application within the fifteen day initial review period.

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 thirty-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 binding site plan 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 recommend approval, approval with conditions, or denial of the binding site plan.

B. Review Criteria.

The Community Development Director shall consider and base a decision to approve with or without conditions, deny, or return the application for modifications, based on:

1. A finding that the newly created lots or units will continue to function and operate as one site, for fully developed sites; or

2. Conformity of the proposed site plan with the adopted rules and regulations listed in Section 17.30.030(A) as represented in the approved site development plan, if the binding site plan is being considered with a site development plan.

3. The binding site plan shall contain applicable inscriptions or attachments setting forth limitations and conditions to which the plan is subject, including any applicable irrevocable dedications of property and containing a provision requiring that any development of the site shall be in conformity with the approved site plan.

4. The Director may modify lot-based or lot line requirements contained with the building, fire and other similar uniform codes adopted by the City.

5. The Director may authorize sharing of open space, parking, access and other improvements among contiguous properties subject to the binding site plan. Conditions of use, maintenance and restrictions on redevelopment of shared open space, parking, access and other improvements shall be identified on the binding site plan and enforced by covenants, easements or other similar mechanisms.

6. The decision of the Director may be appealed to the City’s hearing examiner per LMC 18A.02.740. (Ord. 591 § 61, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.30.050Recording and Binding Effect.

A. Prior to recording, the approved binding site plan shall be surveyed and the final recording forms shall be prepared by a professional land surveyor, licensed in the state of Washington. Surveys shall include those items prescribed by RCW 58.09.060, records of survey, contents - record of corner, information;

B. The approved binding site plan recording forms shall include the following, in the format prescribed by the Director:

1. Lots designated by number on the binding site plan within the area of the lot. Tracts shall be similarly designated and each tract shall be clearly identified with the ownership and purpose;

2. Signature and stamp of the land surveyor who prepared the binding site plan;

3. Reference to the recording number of the completed survey as required by this section if the boundaries have been previously surveyed;

4. Reference to all agreements or covenants required as a condition of approval;

5. Notarized signatures of all persons having an ownership or security interest in the land being divided;

6. Approval of the City Engineer;

7. Approval of the Director.

C. The Director shall examine and sign the approved binding site plan if it conforms with the commercial site development permit or the approved site plan and all conditions of approval. Binding site plans shall be recorded with the Pierce County Auditor’s Office with a record of survey.

D. Lots, parcels, or tracts created through the binding site plan procedure shall be legal lots of record. All provisions, conditions, and requirements of the binding site plan shall be legally enforceable on the purchaser or any other person acquiring a lease or other ownership interest of any lot, parcel, or tract created pursuant to the binding site plan.

E. Any sale, transfer, or lease of any lot, tract, or parcel created pursuant to the binding site plan, that does not conform to the requirements of the binding site plan or without binding site plan approval, shall be considered a violation of chapter 58.17 RCW and shall be restrained by injunctive action and be illegal as provided in chapter 58.17 RCW.

F. Property subject to a binding site plan shall be governed by the terms of approval of the binding site plan, and the statutes and ordinances, and regulations in effect at the time of preliminary approval for a period of one (1) year. Any building permits issued pursuant to a binding site plan shall vest the specific improvement during the period that the building permit is active and valid. After one year, any new improvements shall be subject to the land use regulations and building codes then in effect, unless otherwise specified in the terms of the binding site plan approval. (Ord. 591 § 62, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.30.060Amendment, Modifications and Vacations.

Except as provided in Chapter 17.14.010, amendment, modification and vacation of a binding site plan shall be accomplished by following the same procedure and satisfying the same laws, rules and conditions as required for a new binding site plan application, as set forth in this chapter. If a portion of a binding site plan is vacated, the property subject to the vacated portion shall constitute one (1) lot unless the property is subsequently divided by an approved subdivision or short subdivision. (Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)

17.30.070Administrative Rules.

As part of the binding site plan approval, the Director may promulgate administrative rules and regulations to implement the terms of the binding site plan approval with regard to future land uses and development on the subject property. (Ord. 591 § 63, 2015; Ord. 60 § 1 (part), 1996.)