Pre-Application Requests

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What is a Pre-application request?
The pre-application process is intended to provide applicants with the opportunity to present development proposals, discuss applicable codes, ask questions, and determine the requirements for a complete application prior to submitting an actual permit application.

How to Make a Pre-applicaiton Request
Requests are submitted online by the applicant.

  • Go to org and select Apply for Permits.
  • Log-in to the Tacoma Permits portal (ACA) and select Permits.
  • Read and check the disclaimer and select Continue Application.
  • Select Pre-application Request and fill out all available information and attach PDF documents.

When filling out the Contacts portion of the application, it is strongly advised that an email address for the owner or owner’s representative be included, as notes that are provided cover multiple disciplines that may need to be addressed by a number of hired consultants.

What is the cost?
All pre-application services are currently free of charge.

What to Submit
At minimum, a site plan, project proposal, and list of questions needs to be submitted with every request. From there, the documents needed for a productive preliminary review varies on a project-specific basis. Keep in mind that providing more detailed information will help reviewers provide  more specific feedback.

Who should request the meeting?
Requests can be made by the design professional, property owner, or developer. The person submitting the request should list the rest of the design team as contacts when filling out the form online to ensure they will receive updates as the project progresses.

Residential Projects
Assistance for residential project inquiries (single-family dwellings, duplexes, and townhomes of 1-2 units) can be provided at the Permit Counter without an appointment. Permit Counter hours are listed here:  https://tacomapermits.org/contact-us. For projects that require significant research, the applicant may be advised to submit a pre-application request.

Projects With Active Permits and Over-the-Counter (OTC) Requests
Please do not submit a pre-application request if there is already an active permit for the proposed work. If there is already an active permit, and you would like to meet with the reviewers to discuss the details of the project and/or address comments received, it is best to contact the reviewer directly. If you are not able to work with the reviewer directly and/or more than one reviewer is needed at the meeting, the Application Services team can help coordinate a meeting time and date. Please send an email to applicationservices@cityoftacoma.org and include the active permit number in the subject line and a list of questions and/or concerns to be addressed in the body of the email.

Similarly, if you already have a full set of plans ready to submit and have been told by staff that your permit may be eligible for an “over-the-counter” review, that request can be made by first submitting the plan set as a permit application, and then sending an email to applicationservices@cityoftacoma.org with the applicable permit number in the subject line and an indication that you are requesting “over-the-counter” review in the body of the email. Be advised that 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 that day.

What to Expect
Initial Email

After a pre-application request is made, you will receive an email from applicationservices@cityoftacoma.org generally within 1-2 business days.

The initial email will either:

  • Provide immediate answers to your questions,
  • Indicate that your request is being processed,
  • Or identify additional information needed before review can occur.

In most cases, as long as a basic plan and project proposal have been submitted, the email will indicate that the request is being processed. This signifies that the Application Services Team has routed the request to subject matter experts for review electronically.

Electronic Review

Electronic Review comments can be expected back within 1-2 weeks of the initial email from Application Services. Electronic Review comments are captured within a Review Comment memo and uploaded as an attachment to the PRE record. Oftentimes, two separate comment memos are uploaded to the record; one covers general comments and the other is specific to comments from the Site Development review group.

An email is sent to the applicant as well as any other contacts listed as part of the record, letting them know that the comment memo(s) are available online. The general comment memo lists next steps required to move forward with the project and gives contact information for the subject matter experts that reviewed the proposal. In most cases the comment memo(s) sent to the applicant are adequate to address the majority of, or all of, the questions posed by the applicant without the need for an in-person meeting. However, even when in-person meetings are still needed, the Electronic Review process helps to narrow down the number of required reviewers that need to attend the meeting, which makes scheduling faster and easier.

In-Person Meetings

If there are questions or concerns that are not adequately addressed by the comment memo(s), the applicant has the opportunity to either contact specific reviewer(s) directly via phone or email, or contact the project facilitator to arrange for an in-person meeting.

In circumstances where the proposal is of a large scale or unusually complex, an in-person meeting may be requested by the City. In those instances, the email that is sent out after Electronic Review will identify the soonest available meeting date and the City staff that will likely attend.

Regardless of whether the meeting is applicant-initiated or City-initiated, please take the time to read through the preliminary memo(s) regarding the project that are sent out prior to the meeting. If you have any concerns or questions regarding the preliminary comments, notify the project facilitator ahead of the meeting date to ensure that those items are addressed in person. If the memo(s) have called out significant changes that need to be addressed prior to the meeting, please make those changes and upload the revisions or additional information to the PRE record online prior to the meeting (preferably at least two days prior to the scheduled meeting).

How To Submit Additional Information
The following steps describe how to upload additional and/or revised attachments in Accela, if needed or requested by City Staff:

  1. Log in and accept disclaimer. https://aca.accela.com/tacoma/
  2. Under the Home option, select My Records.
  3. Select the permit number.
  4. Select the Record Info Drop Down box.
  5. Select Add Attachments.