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Responsible Growth Downtown and in Designated Mixed-Use Centers a Focal Point With Passage of Ordinance 28966

Responsible Growth Downtown and in Designated Mixed-Use Centers a Focal Point With Passage of Ordinance 28966


May 7, 2024



Maria Lee, Media & Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054

Responsible Growth Downtown and in Designated Mixed-Use Centers
a Focal Point With Passage of Ordinance 28966


TACOMA, Wash. – With the passage of Ordinance 28966, the City of Tacoma – through an Urban Design Project Review – will create a new land use permit process that incorporates the consideration of a project’s relationship with the urban environment, the public realm, connectivity, climate responsiveness, and other urban design concerns.


The Urban Design Project Review prioritizes:

  • Areas Primed for Significant Growth with the creation of a new Urban Design Project Review permit process focused on medium- to large-scale projects downtown and in designated Mixed-Use Centers

  • Better Oversight with the creation of a City-Council appointed Urban Design Board, with a mix of professional experience, community interests related to urban design, and geographic diversity, to assist in review of the largest, most significant projects
  • Timely, Clear, and Objective Design Guidance for New Projects following new Washington state-mandated time limits and with the creation of an Urban Design Project Review Manual 

  • Thoughtful and Intentional Code Modifications relating to certain development and design standards downtown and in designated Mixed-Use Centers including:

            - Establishment of maximum setbacks

            - Residential amenity space requirements

            - Alignment of existing building standards with Urban Design program priorities

“Through the Urban Design Project Review, we're fostering a Tacoma that embraces innovation and quality, creating spaces that enrich the lives of all who call our city home,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “This program is a testament to our commitment to thoughtful urban development, ensuring that every project contributes to the vibrancy and inclusivity of our community."


“Tacoma is growing and that is a good thing,” said Deputy Mayor John Hines. “At the same time, I hear from many community members about the need to balance growth and change with how it fits into our urban environment. Through the Urban Design Studio's innovative approach, we are working to shape our urban landscapes with precision and foresight. The program should allow us to consider design while not slowing critically needed development in our city. By integrating design excellence with community engagement, our Urban Design Project Review should support vibrant, sustainable spaces that resonate with the character of our community and that ensure every corner of Tacoma reflects our collective aspirations and values." 

“Our new Urban Design Project Review land use permit process and the Urban Design Board are important steps toward fostering more equitable outcomes, community responsiveness, and predictability in all our designated Mixed-Use Centers,” said Council Member Kristina Walker. “As the Chair of the Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability (IPS) Committee, I am glad to see the committee and staff’s collaborative work come to fruition. I look forward to holding candidate interviews for the Urban Design Board at IPS in October and I can’t wait to see the great work that comes from weaving greater community input into our process. I have no doubt that our urban areas will thrive with this new effort and that our community’s voice will play a key role in helping to achieve our city’s vision.”  


Detailed information on the Urban Design Project Review and the process of engaging the Tacoma community in developing its priorities is available on the City’s website.