Vesting

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The term vesting refers to the developer’s allowance to “lock in” codes, ordinances and laws, particularly underlying zoning and other construction laws to pertaining to development so changes to codes, ordinances or laws do not negate work where a significant investment in planning, design, resources and time have been made using older codes, ordinances or laws.

Vested rights apply only in the context of building permit applications[1], short subdivision and subdivision applications[2], and development agreements[3].  Additionally, vested rights only refer to zoning ordinances and building codes in force at the time of the application of the permit.[4]

PRE-APPLICATION
Materials provided as part of the Pre-Application process do not legally vest a proposal to current Codes and Regulations. However, we do take our commitments to service delivery seriously, and will stand by our interpretations of existing regulations as described within comments provided as part of the pre-application process, unless there is some extenuating circumstance or legal requirement for us to rescind a previous statement. Similarly, if a requirement is discovered during formal review that has a significant impact on a project that was not anticipated as part of the pre-application review service, we will work to with our customers to provide partial to full refund of the pre-application review fees depending on management review of the circumstances.

All scoping comments are based on the regulations in effect on the date listed on the memo. Subject Matter Experts do make their best efforts to provide insight on anticipated changes in regulations when such changes are imminent, but may not always have in-depth knowledge about how a set of regulations not yet adopted of fully developed will affect a specific proposal.

LAND USE PERMITS – (LU)
Segregation requests and Boundary Line Adjustment applications generally do not involve conditional approvals and do not vest a development to any Codes or Regulations.

Projects that are associated with short subdivision and subdivision applications are considered vested to the regulations (TMC, ROW Design Manual, SWMM, UFM, IBC, IRC) in effect at the time that a complete application for preliminary plat is submitted.

Be advised that applications for Land Use Permits such as Variance requests, Conditional Use Permits, Shoreline Permitting, Rezones, and/or SEPA do not result in vested rights. These types of permits do, however, generally involve conditions of approval which are applicable at the time of issuance of the Land Use Permit decision. If there is a concern regarding vesting for a project with these types of permits it is advised that a complete Building Permit application be submitted before the date of the anticipated changes to changes to codes, ordinances or laws.

SITE DEVELOPMENT PERMITS – (WO) (SDEV)
Minimum Requirement provisions of the Storm Water Management Manual (SWMM) have specific vesting requirements, as identified in Section 3.3.4 of the SWMM. Under the current (2016) provisions of the SWMM, the 2016 Minimum Requirements apply to all projects which have not started construction by January 7, 2021, regardless of whether or not an approved permit has been issued. In this context, “started construction” means, at a minimum, the site work associated with, and directly related to the approved project has begun (e.g. grading to final grade or utility installation). Simply clearing the project site does not constitute as “started construction”.

It is the City’s policy to consider the portion of work covered by a Work Order/Site Development Permit application to be vested to the ROW Design Manual and Sanitary Sewer Availability Manual in effect at the time of the Work Order/Site Development Permit application submittal, assuming that that the application is complete and that there is not an associated plat application or development agreement.

If there is an associated plat application or development agreement, the Work Order/ Site Development Permit must demonstrate compliance with the conditions of the final plat decision, and is vested to the Ordinances, Codes, and Manuals in effect at the time of the associated Land Use Permit application.

BUILDING PERMITS – (BLD)
Building Permits for new residential structures (BLDRNs – also referred to as “Combination Permits”) include an approval process for building, plumbing, mechanical work, the water connection, stormwater connection/devices, wastewater connection, grading, and driveway work.

It is the City’s policy to consider a BLDRN to be vested to the Codes and Manuals in effect on the date that a complete application for a BLDRN is submitted.  Minimum Requirement provisions of the SWMM have specific vesting requirements, as identified in Section 3.3.4 of the SWMM. Under the current (2016) provisions of the SWMM, the 2016 Minimum Requirements apply to all projects which have not started construction by January 7, 2021, regardless of whether or not an approved permit has been issued. In this context, “started construction” means, at a minimum, the site work associated with, and directly related to the approved project has begun (e.g. grading to final grade or utility installation). Simply clearing the project site does not constitute as “started construction”.

It is the City’s policy to consider the portion of work covered by a Building Permit for a new commercial structure (BLDCN) and/or an alteration to a commercial or residential structure (BLDCA and/or BLDRA) to be vested to the applicable portions of the TMC, as well as the IFC, IBC, and/or IRC in effect at the time of the Building Permit application submittal, assuming that the application is complete, applicable plan review fees have been paid, and that there is not an associated plat application or development agreement.

If there is an associated Land Use decision, the Building Permit must demonstrate compliance with the conditions of that decision.

If the associated Land Use decision is a plat application or development agreement, the Building Permit is vested to the Ordinances, Codes, and Manuals in effect at the time of the associated Land Use Permit application.

Separate permitting for plumbing, mechanical work, the water connection, stormwater connection/devices, wastewater connection, grading, and driveway work may be required for BLDCNs, BLDCAs, and BLDRAs and the scope of work covered in those separate permits will be vested to the applicable regulations in effect on the date that those permits are submitted.

 

RESOURCES

  • RCW 19.27.095
  • RCW 58.17.033
  • RCW 36.70B.180
  • Potala Village Kirkland, Llc, v. City of Kirkland, 183 Wn. App. 191 (2014)
  • 2015 International Residential Code (IRC)
  • 2015 International Building Code (IBC)
  • 2015 International Existing Building Code (IEBC)
  • 2015 International Fire Code (IFC)
  • Storm Water Management Manual (SWMM)
  • Tacoma Municipal Code: Title 2 – Buildings
  • Tacoma Municipal Code: Title 13 – Land Use
  • org: Resource Library

[1] RCW 19.27.095

[2] RCW 58.17.033

[3] RCW 36.70B.180

[4] Potala Village Kirkland, Llc, v. City of Kirkland, 183 Wn. App. 191 (2014)