Lakewood City Hall

Development Services

Lakewood Development Services reviews all permits, building applications, and building inspections. Use this page to find information on permits, building information, and building inspections in Lakewood.

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Common Questions and Documents

Announcements

Call for 2025 Comprehensive Plan, Zoning, and Regulation Amendment Cycle: July 1- 31, 2024

Changes to the Lakewood Comprehensive Plan, and some related changes to zoning code and development regulations, are allowable once per year under state law.  As the first step in this process, the City of Lakewood invites interested parties to identify proposed changes. Afterward, the Lakewood Planning Commission and then City Council will review and confirm the list of amendments to be considered over the course of the year, including privately-initiated amendments.  This list is known as the “Annual Comprehensive Plan Docket.”

Any individual, organization, business, or other group may propose an amendment. Proposals to amend the Comprehensive Plan and associated Zoning Code provisions must be received by the Lakewood Planning and Public Works Department through the online portal at between 8:30 am on July 1, 2024 and 4:30 p.m. on July 31, 2024. Proposals received after the deadline will be considered in the 2026 Comprehensive Plan Docket.

Questions? Send them to [email protected]

The Planning Commission took action on the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Package on July 10, 2024. Watch the meeting here. View the materials here.

To learn more about new policies and regulations under consideration and how to participate at the City Council level, please visit the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Periodic Review page

2021 International Building Code updates take effect March 15, 2024

The 2021 updates to the International Building Code take effect March 15, 2024, per the Washington State Building Code Council. More information about these updates, including what sections are amended, is available on the state building code council’s website.

All applications submitted and deemed complete by the end of business on March 14, 2024, will be reviewed for compliance with 2018 codes. Applications received on March 15 or later must comply with the 2021 adopted codes.

Applicants using the 2018 code are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. We anticipate a high volume of applications to come in before the deadline. Development Services staff will work with applicants to ensure submittals meet all requirements.

REMINDER: Building permit applications will be accepted after approvals of any land use or environmental permit or for any approval required from the City of Lakewood for a project action, including but not limited to subdivisions, conditional uses, shoreline substantial development permits, and Building Line Adjustments (BLA).


Permit Information

Please note that while permits can be submitted 24/7, permits are processed during business hours Monday – Friday only. *Due to staffing, response times may be longer than usual – thank you for your patience and understanding.*

How to Apply for a Permit:

  • Choose the applicable permit application from the list below. All applications must be submitted electronically through the Permit Dashboard.
  • Land use permits must be approved prior to building permit application
  • Plans must be complete at the time of submittal 
  • Commercial projects are required to submit building, plumbing, and mechanical permit applications at the same time. Deferred submittals are no longer accepted.
  • Residential projects only require a building permit at the time of submittal
  • Once the documents have been reviewed, the permit technician will enter the permit into our permit system. An email will then be sent with payment information.
  • Once payment has been received, the receipt will be available online through the dashboard
  • Note: The City does not process permits for work within mobile homes. Please contact the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

The archived permit search function for permits that were submitted before October 2021 is currently down. If you have a simple question about the status of an archived permit, email [email protected]. If you need documents related to an archived permit, please submit a public records request.

Permit Revisions

All revision submittals should include a revision summary. The revised pages should be marked with the revision number and date, and revisions should be called out by being clouded. Revisions are required to be complete sets of plans.

  • For Permits submitted prior to Oct. 27, 2021, beginning with letters “BP or LU or PW” – (Example: BP-21-00001)
    • Commercial Projects
      • Email [email protected] a copy of the Revision Submittal form. A permit technician will contact you back and provide steps on how to proceed.
    • Residential Projects
      • Email [email protected] a copy of the Revision Submittal form, as well as any plans/drawings. A permit technician will respond within 48 hours of receipt.
    • Public Works Projects
      • Email [email protected] a copy of the Revision Submittal form. A permit technician will contact you back and provide steps on how to proceed.
    • Land Use Projects
      • Email [email protected] a copy of the Revision Submittal form. A permit technician will contact you back and provide steps on how to proceed.
  • For Permits submitted after Oct. 27, 2021, beginning numerically (Example: 1234, 123)
    • Complete the Revision Submittal form and resubmit the changes online through the Dashboard.

Request an Inspection

For permits beginning in BP (ex. BP-21-11111): Request your inspection by calling 253-512-2266. Please note: for a next-day inspection, calls must be received before 2 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For permits with a three (3) or four (4) digit number (ex. 1234): Request an inspection through the permits dashboard.

*Due to staffing, availability for inspections is limited. Please expect a longer time frame for the next available inspection date. We appreciate your patience and understanding.*

Permit Approval

  • An email from the Permit Technicians will be sent advising that the permit(s) have been approved. This will include the remaining balance that is due and whether the contractor information is required prior to issuance.
    • We accept Visa, MasterCard, or check(s) (payable to the City of Lakewood). 
    • Please note, if check is returned as NSF there will be an applicable fee and permit will be revoked until another form of payment is received.
  • Once final payment has been received you will receive an email notifying you that the approved set of plans will be available for download from the Dashboard. Please print out one full-size set of plans and keep them on-site at all times for inspection purposes.

Utility and Fire Review

The City of Lakewood is not a full-service agency. Sewer, water, electrical, and fire safety permits, reviews, and inspections are done by other agencies.

Fire Safety: Fire District review has been incorporated into the City’s permit process, but inspections must be coordinated through West Pierce Fire & Rescue by calling (253) 983-4583.

Sewer: Sewer service and permitting is provided by Pierce County. Please contact Pierce County’s Development Center for questions and apply through the PALS+ Permit Dashboard.

Water: Water availability certificates must be provided as part of the building permit submission. To obtain a water availability certificate visit the Lakewood Water District located at 11900 Gravelly Lake Dr SW, Lakewood, WA 98499.

Electrical: Depending on your geographical location, either Tacoma Public Utilities or the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) performs the inspection. Once you have determined your electrical provider, please visit the corresponding website for an application or to schedule an inspection:

Map of Lakewood Electrical Providers

A map of the electrical provider districts in Lakewood, WA.

Permit Applications and Handouts

Handouts

Permit Application Guide Walkthroughs

Building Permits

Planning and Land Use Permits

Public Works Permits

Downtown Subarea Plan Permits

All links below lead to PDF documents.

Wireless Facility Permits

All links below lead to PDF documents.


How to Contact Us

General Permit Questions

  • Email [email protected] for the fastest response.
  • Visit the Permit Desk during service hours:
    • Lakewood Permit Desk
      6000 Main St SW
      Lakewood, WA 98499

      Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
      Speak with our first-floor receptionist to contact the permits team and someone will come to meet you, wait times vary depending on staff schedules.  They may be able to answer your question, or they may need to set an appointment for you. No over-the-counter review or issuance of permits.
  • Call us at (253) 512-2261.  Your call will go to voicemail so we can forward your inquiry to the appropriate staff. Describe your issue or question, or request an appointment, and include your contact information as well as the property address and/or permit number in your message. We check messages twice daily.

Specific Zoning Information

  • For specific zoning information on a piece of land, email us at:  [email protected]
    • Provide the parcel number or address if possible and specific questions you have regarding the property. Staff will respond within 24 hours, not including weekends. Late afternoon requests may not get a response until next day.

Land Use, Building or Site Development Permits

  • To submit land use, building, or site development permits use the Permit Portal
    • Permit submittal is 24/7.  However, if you submit permits over the weekend, or after-hours during weekdays, we do not initiate intake until the next business day and may take up to 72 hours to process.
  • To inquire about the status of a land use, building permit, or site development permit, use the Permit Portal.
    • Click on the Permit Search button at the top of the main screen.  You can search using the permit number, address, tax parcel number, applicant name, contractor ID, or project name. 

Request In-Person Meeting

  • To request an in-person meeting with a member of our staff, email [email protected]
    • Your call will go to voicemail. Leave a detailed message and we will forward your inquiry to the appropriate staff member.  Turn-around time will vary depending on staff schedules and the topic.   

Common Questions and Documents

Commonly Requested Documents

General Questions

Where can I apply for a permit?

  • All permit applications must be submitted online through the Dashboard. Contact the Permit Counter staff at (253) 512-2261 for more information.

Do I have to make an appointment with the Permit Counter staff to ask general questions?

  • No, Permit Counter staff is available by phone or in person 9 a.m to 3 p.m. M-F. If you would like to make an appointment to discuss a permit (applications will not be accepted) please contact the Permit Counter staff at (253) 512-2261 to make your appointment.

Where can I find old/closed permit information?

  • Permits applied for before 10/27/2021
    • Submit a Public Disclosure request through NextRequest.
  • Permits applied for after 10/27/2021. Information may be available through the Permit Dashboard.

What are the fees for a permit?

  • Fees depend on the type and scope of work. Fees for various permits can be found in the City’s Master Fee Schedule. Total fees for a project will be calculated at the time a permit application is submitted. Contact the Permit Counter staff at (253) 512-2261 for more information.

Permit Questions

When do I need a building permit?

  • The International Building Code adopted by the City requires that you get a permit before doing any:
    • A. Construction, enlargement, alteration, repair, movement, demolition, or changing the occupancy of any building or structure; and
    • B. Installation, enlargement, alteration, repair, removal, conversion, or replacement of any electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system.
  • Some exceptions to this rule include:
    • One-story detached residential accessory buildings used as a storage or tool shed, playhouse or similar use. They must be 120 square feet or less in size, no taller than ten feet, and must be placed on the rear half of a lot with at least a three-foot setback from side and rear property lines.
    • Interior movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5’9″ high..
    • Retaining walls and rockeries no more than four feet tall. Please call the Community Development Department to assure that permits are not needed.
    • Platforms, decks, walks and driveways – Ask the Permit Counter staff or call (253) 512-2261.
    • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar finish work.
    • Residential window awnings – Ask the Permit Counter staff or call (253) 512-2261.
    • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one-and two-family dwellings.
    • Prefabricated residential swimming pools – Ask the Permit Counter staff or call (253) 512-2261.
    • Fences (Click on the ‘fences’ button to find out more)

Do I need a permit for a shed?

  • Non-vehicular storage structures less than one hundred twenty (120) square feet and less than ten (10) feet in height, when placed on property where the owner resides do not require a building permit or zoning certification. However, they must be placed on the rear half of a lot with at least a three-foot setback from side and rear property lines.

Do I need a permit for a patio cover or carport?

  • Yes, you will need to obtain a building permit and setbacks from the property line must be observed.

Do I need a permit for a fence?

  • Fences less than or equal to six (6) feet in height and not obstructing the clear line of vision of vehicular traffic approaching the location from any street or driveway do not require a permit.
  • Fences greater than four (4) feet in height are not typically allowed within the front yard setback and fences are not allowed within fifteen (15) feet of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) on shoreline lots.
  • Fences greater than six (6) feet in height will require an administrative variance or major variance depending on the height.
  • Fences greater than seven (7) feet in height must meet applicable setback standards and require a building permit.

Do I need a permit for a water heater and does it require an inspection?

  • Yes, whether you are installing a new type of water heater or replacing an existing one, it is required that you get a permit prior to the installation and follow through with an inspection.

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