The county has many different types of preliminary development review, ranging in size from a sign for a commercial building to the master plan for the WSU campus and a two lot short plat to a 300-unit apartment complex. A summary of the reviews and procedures used is shown below.

These handouts provide more information about the land use processes:

Review types

Review Who receives public notice General time frame for preliminary review Decision maker
Type I None 21 days Staff
Type II

Property owners within 300 feet in urban area

Property owners within 500 feet in rural area

Neighborhood association

Others who request it

78 days Staff
Type II-A Same as Type II

78 days - no hearing

92 days – with hearing
Staff unless public hearing by hearings examiner is requested
Type III Same as above 92 days Hearings examiner through public hearing process
Type IV

Property owners within 300 feet in urban area (for Annual Reviews)

Property owners within 500 feet in rural area (for Annual Reviews)

Neighborhood association

Others who request it

Varies widely Board of County Commissioners with recommendation from Planning Commission in most cases

Examples of preliminary reviews

  Type I Type II Type II-A Type III Type IV
Accessory Dwelling Units (such as an apartment in basement of a single-family residence) X        
Boundary Line Adjustment X        
Legal Lot Determination X        
Short Plat   X      
Site Plan Review (for commercial/ industrial development) X X   X  
Conditional Use Permit (usually for commercial/ industrial development with unusual characteristics or impacts)     X    
Subdivision     X    
Annual Reviews (for example changing the comprehensive plan designation from residential to commercial)         X

Procedure for preliminary, final and building reviews

Stage 1: Pre-Application – Pre-Application Conferences are required for most Type II, III and IV applications

  • Permit Technicians provide information and assist applicants with understanding codes and laws.
  • Applicant submits pre-application.
  • Applicant and planning staff meet at pre-application conference to discuss project.
  • Applicant receives pre-application report from staff.

Stage 2: Preliminary Development Approval – Basic process for all review types is similar, main differences include time frames and decision makers

  • Applicant submits application.
  • Staff reviews application for completeness.
  • Surrounding property owners are notified of proposal.
  • Staff reviews proposal for compliance with codes.
  • Staff writes staff report and decision for Type I and Type II cases.
  • Staff writes staff report, public hearing is conducted for Type III proposals, decision made by hearings examiner.

Stage 3: Final Development – Development Engineering in Public Works

  • Engineering staff reviews detailed engineering drawings.
  • Staff manages the approval of final site plans and final plats.
  • Construction of environmental facilities/mitigation installations is inspected.
  • Construction of site development such as roads, utilities and stormwater facilities is inspected.

Stage 4: Building

  • Plans examiners review building plans for compliance with building safety codes.
  • Permit Technicians issue building, plumbing, mechanical and related permits.
  • Building construction is inspected and final occupancy is achieved.