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Design Review

Landmarks Design Review Switching to Online Tacoma Permits System

In an effort to streamline the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s design review process, the Historic Preservation Office has transitioned to the online Tacoma Permits system, currently used for all other types of permitting by Planning and Development Services.  

New Software Will Make Process More Efficient

This web-based permitting platform utilizes Accela software and offers a number of efficiencies including online permit applications, online payment processing, and permit tracking throughout the entire process. The full transition was completed on May 1, 2018, and allows staff and customers to more effectively track the permitting process in historic districts.


Design review is an approval process that projects involving historic properties must complete prior to the start of work or issuance of permits.


The Landmarks Preservation Commission reviews projects for historic compatibility at its regular public meetings, and, if the work meets the standards for historic treatment, issues a certificate of approval. In general, any exterior work on City Landmarks that is visible from public rights of way requires design review.  In the North Slope Historic District, exterior changes that require building permits also require design review.Elks


Design Review Process

Most simple projects take two to four weeks for the Commission to review from the point of application. More complex projects can require several meetings, including informational briefings during design development.


Review the Standards and Guidelines for Historic Buildings

The Landmarks Preservation Commission reviews projects according to its standards, which include design guidelines and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. In some cases, pre-application meetings or Commission briefings are beneficial for larger or more complex projects.


How to Apply

For information or technical assistance pre-register for a Tacoma Permits account, visit tacomapermits.org, email TacomaPermits@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 591-5030.


Submit Your Plans for Preliminary Review

By submitting your plans through the Accela permitting system you are ensuring your application will be reviewed for applicable codes and avoids delays. Generally, variances and conditional use permits must be obtained prior to Landmarks Commission review.


Submit Your Plans to the Historic Preservation Office

Electronic submittal through the Accela permitting system is preferred. Incomplete applications, or requests for clarification, may result in the item being moved to a subsequent agenda. If you have any questions about the submittal requirements, please contact us by phone or email (see below).


Fee Schedule

On November 20, 2018, City Council approved a general services fee schedule that includes fees for design review and demolition review of historic buildings (Res. No. 40166). The new fees are as follows:


Commercial Projects

Commercial Fees


Residential Projects

Residential Fees



Once your application is received, staff will review it for completeness and schedule it for the next available agenda.  The Landmarks Commission meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Applications must be complete two weeks in advance of the desired meeting date.  You will be notified when your application has been scheduled for review.


Present Your Application to the Commission

It is highly recommended that applicant be present to respond to questions or recommendations from the Commission.


Apply for Permits

Once the Commission has granted approval, you may obtain permits.  In some cases, land use review or plans review may occur concurrently with the historic design review process.


Contact Us

Historic Preservation Office

Planning and Development Services

747 Market Street

Room 345
(253) 591-5254



For questions about the Accela permitting system, building code, or zoning, please call the Planning Helpline at (253) 591-5030. 

Applications for Design Review

Accela Permit System Portal

Getting Started