Starting a Business

The following information is provided to assist you in the approval process:

Step 1 - Planning Division

The process may include coordination with the public works department and Final Site Plan approval is required (a separate process). Please have the location information and as many details as possible regarding the proposed use at the time of contact. A narrative is preferred.

A determination will be made as follows:

  • During the site plan review process, planning will evaluate:
    • Applicable conditions and criteria required within other sections of the code
    • Fire and Transportation Impact fees
    • The lot, yard, building height and other dimensional requirements of the district are met
    • Minimum parking and loading space requirements are provided
    • Provision of adequate storm drainage facilities, water/sewer, and street improvements
    • Required improvements are provided
    • The screening, buffering, and landscaping requirements of the district are met
    • Whether the proposed use is permitted within the applicable zone district
  • The planning permits are required. For example: Type I Site Plan Review, Type II Site Plan Review, and/or a Tenant Improvement Permit.

 Step 2 - Building Division

Subsequent to planning approval, the next step is the building division for building or tenant improvement permits. This may include permits from the Fire Marshall.

In certain cases, it is advisable that you speak to the building official in advance, especially related to conversion of a residential structure to a commercial use or a new use in an existing building.

Building Review

Building review will include:

  • The building division and Fire Marshall will perform a walk through inspection to verify code compliance and/or to discuss any proposed alterations or changes to a structure
  • Building permits
  • Certification of occupancy
  • Construction, alteration, and/or remodel work may require plans prepared by a licensed architect for any portion of a building, depending on the size and type of construction
  • Verify if your proposed business is a change in use for the building. If it is a change in use or building alteration is planned, it may require compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards

Step 3 - Fire Marshall

In addition to permits issued by the Building Department, the Fire Marshal’s office issues permits and conducts plan reviews and inspection for Fire code compliance of:

  • Installation, additions, or alteration to life safety systems (fire alarms, fire sprinklers systems, commercial cooking hood suppression systems, emergency lighting etc.)
  • New construction, minor remodels, alternation or change in use of the building, and special or temporary use
  • To maintain, store, use or handle materials, or to conduct processes which produce conditions hazardous to life or property, or to install equipment used in connection with such activities.

Step 4 - Business License

After meeting all the requirements, a business license is required through the State of Washington.

Step 5 - Pre-application Conference

It is advisable, and in some cases required, that you apply for a pre-application conference. The benefit to you is that you will meet with all departments of the city at one time and receive a written report outlining requirements prior to formal application. Meeting in advance can provide you information as to the feasibility of a project prior to making planning application.