April Government Affairs Update

State Building Code Council Fees

During the 2018 legislative session, Governor Inslee signed HB 1622 modifying fees for the State Building Code Council for building permits. The current cost and changes are as follows:

  • Before July 1, 2018
    • Dwelling Units, Apartments and Motel Rooms: $4.50 for the first and $2.00 for each unit after the first unit
    • All other building permits: $4.50
  • Effective July 1, 2018
    • Projects permitted under the IRC: $6.50 for the first unit and $2.00 for each additional unit after the first
    • Projects permitted under the IBC or IEBC: $25.00

City of Tacoma Updates

Permit Process Improvements

In April the Tacoma City Council passed the permit process improvements the MBA worked on with the Planning and Development Services Director, city staff, and Councilmember McCarthy. These improvements are items the MBA has been working on for a while and we are happy to see these ordinances pass. Among the improvements were the performance bond requirements, right-of-way occupancy permits, and an efficiency-based permit fee increase schedule. These changes were Changes are as follows:

  • Performance bonds
    • Bonding amount may be reduced to 30% with good construction history (minimum $15k) – subject to Director’s Discretion and applies to bonds only
    • Non-performance: 5 year increased bonding requirement at 150% value determined by City and no longer qualifies for future bond reductions
    • Working without a permit: double fee ($200 minimum) and bonding requirements at 100% value to be determined by City
  • Right-of-Way (ROW) Occupancy Permits
    • Remove requirement to obtain ROW Occupancy Permit for “de minimus” development in ROW adjacent to single family development (includes fences less than 7 feet in height, at-grade stairs, retaining walls less than 4 feet, and garden areas; all development must meet PW Design Manual
    • When a ROW Occupancy Permit is required adjacent to residential development, review with associated development permit to due process
    • Do not require that nonconforming development to obtain ROW Occupancy Permit
    • Remove requirement for ROCC for Development (that provides a public benefit and/or is required by city code) – subject to Director’s Discretion
    • Move towards financial sustainability by increasing permit fee from $320 to $640
  • Single Family Fees (Phase I and II) and schedule
    • New single family house – valuation based
    • Building Permit – Phase I: Project Valuation * 1.11%
    • Building Permit – Phase II: Project Valuation * approximately 1.31% (initiating this phase is dependent on the following agreement with MBA)

Inclusionary Zones 

The City of Tacoma is also undergoing a discussion on adding a mandatory inclusionary zone in the core of the Madison District of the Tacoma Mall Neighborhood Subarea Plan. This is a late and rather hasty recommendation by Councilman Beale. Staff is monitoring the issue. However, even if this mandatory inclusionary zone does not become an amendment to the Tacoma Mall Neighborhood Subarea Plan, this has brought to the attention of the MBA that the City of Tacoma is seriously considering establishing more inclusionary zones. Our efforts will be to ensure these zones are not mandatory but incentive-based with incentives offsetting costs to building units in those zones.