Current Planning

Working to enhance the community's quality of life, promote the development of economic vitality and diversity, mitigate the sometimes adverse impacts of development, and promote cost-effective delivery of public services, the current planning section is primarily responsible for reviewing land development applications within Lakewood. These can vary from everyday projects such as single-family development, short plats, and tenant improvements to more complex projects such as subdivisions, conditional use permits, and master plans for “campus” type facilities. This division also staffs the Landmarks and Heritage Advisory Board, oversees the designation of historic properties within the city, and administers the multifamily property tax incentive program.

How does project review work?

Development project review often involves two elements: 1) environmental review as required by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA); and 2) review of the project for compliance with applicable zoning and/or subdivision regulations and development standards. State law exempts many smaller projects from environmental review.

Projects are required to conform with the City's Land Use and Development Code (Title 18A of the Lakewood Municipal Code – often called the zoning code), as well as any other regulations that may apply, such as state requirements or other City regulations such as the critical areas ordinance or subdivision code.

Depending on the nature of the project, it may be subject to administrative (staff) review and approval, or it might be required to go before the City’s hearing examiner for a public hearing and decision.

How do I get started?

The current planning section can help you with questions about specific development projects and applications. We strongly recommend that you consult with planning staff prior to embarking on any development project; changing the use of any property; or altering the condition of any land through clearing or grading, tree removal, or any other action. Call or stop by the second floor of City Hall to talk to the planner on duty, who can advise you about the basics and any regulations that might apply to your project.

Additionally, formal preapplication conferences are available to more thoroughly assess a given proposal’s development considerations and gain input from staff in other divisions and departments, as well as outside reviewers such as utilities and the Fire District. This consultation is intended to help you avoid what can turn out to be costly mistakes or miscommunication with contractors or others working on your behalf. If you go on to apply for your project in a timely manner, a portion of the preapplication conference fee is applied to the cost of your permit(s).

Once you know what type of permit(s) you need, you can download the appropriate application below. Fees vary by the type of permit and are listed on the top of each application form.

What if I don’t agree with a project decision or requirements?

Sometimes the City must balance the public interest with basic property rights and specific legal requirements. Public input, comments from other public agencies, and other relevant information are compiled by the Current Planning Division and form the official record in case of an appeal. In most cases, any appeals of staff decisions are decided by the hearing examiner, and appeals of hearing examiner decisions are decided in court. The Planning Advisory Board (planning commission) and City Council do not have a role in this process.