Development Regulations

Banner images of Community Plan update areas
Development Regulations related to Centers and Corridors
Title 18A Zoning
photo of cars parked on a street
Proposed Changes:
Proposed zoning changes in each plan area are identified later on each community plan's page in this online open house.

The County identifies minimum and maximum parking standards for most new developments based on the type of use. The proposal includes a change to the parking standard within the Centers and Corridors zones to 1.5 parking spaces per new housing unit.
Current Proposed
# of bedrooms # of spaces # of bedrooms # of spaces
Studio or 1 1.5 Any 1.5
2 2
3 or more 2.25

Parking for non-residential uses, such as stores, offices and restaurants, will either follow the existing standards, or the developer may submit a parking study that demonstrates the parking needs for the development.
Title 18B Signs
photo example of monument signs
Proposed Changes:
Pierce County’s development regulations identify the size, height and type of signs that are allowed based on a property’s use and zoning.

The new standard would only allow monument signs (signs without poles) and building signs in the Centers and Corridors zones. Existing pole signs may remain.
Title 18J Design Standards and Guidelines
Proposed Changes:
The County requires new construction and major remodels to incorporate design elements, such as trees and landscaping, building architecture, parking location and more. The proposed updates include special design standards for Centers and Corridors and revised standards for the four Community Plan areas.
Native vegetation, trees and landscaping
Pierce County Design Standards include many standards related to trees, landscaping and native vegetation.

Street trees would be required to be planted in all urban zones along both new and existing roads and within and adjacent to new developments. Current standards only require street tree planting on new roads. This change would apply to all plan areas.

Landscaping within parking lots would continue to be required. The proposed changes, which apply to all plan areas, would:
  • Require perimeter landscaping for all portions of all parking lots that are within 20 feet of a road or access point, such as a shared driveway. Current code only requires buffering along roads.
  • Require that internal parking lot landscaping be installed when more than 10 parking spaces are added or when a new parking lot has more than 10 parking spaces. The current code does not require landscaping for the addition of parking spaces.
Landscaping would be required in the Centers and Corridors zones between incompatible uses when properties have drastically different zones, such as single-family zones adjacent to industrial zones.

All projects within the Centers and Corridors zones would have a minimum landscaping requirement. Ten percent of the property that is not covered by a building would be required to be covered in landscaping, including groundcover, shrubs and trees.
photo example of a parking area
Building location, architecture and parking lot location
Most of the development in the four Community Plan areas is suburban in character with large parking lots separating buildings from the street and sidewalk.

In the Centers and Corridors zones, new buildings would be required to locate close to the street, with parking located behind or on the side of the building. This would allow safer access for bicycles and pedestrians, while still easily accommodating cars.

Under current Pierce County regulations, architectural features—such as cornices, color and material changes, and wall shifts, must be incorporated into new buildings. This standard will continue for all plan areas.
photo example of a parking garage
Drive-thrus and parking garages
Drive-thru windows and the lanes that people wait in would not be visible from the road in the proposed Centers and Corridors zones.

Parking garages will be allowed in the Centers and Corridors zones and must follow one of these design options:
  • Built to look like another type of use, such as an office building;
  • Screened by landscaping that covers 75 percent of the building; or
  • At least 75 percent of the building covered with artwork.
photo Pierce Transit bus and sidewalks
Pedestrian, bike and transit facilities
The proposed changes focus on increasing bicycle, pedestrian, and transit facilities and access within the Centers and Corridors area to make access to new developments easy for everyone, not just people driving cars.

Within Centers and Corridors zones, sidewalk widths are proposed to be widened from six feet to eight feet in most areas, with 10 feet for main sidewalks in Towne Centers. Sidewalks and safe pedestrian crossings must be connected to all building entrances.

The proposed standards for plan areas require long-term, secure bicycle parking for new residential developments and for employers, so that people leaving their bicycle for more than a few hours have a more secure location to keep it. Short-term bicycle parking, including secure bicycle racks, is also required in the proposed standards.
Housing design in Centers and Corridors
New housing, including single-family homes, duplexes, townhouses and apartments, will be required to meet specific design standards related to parking location, roadways and building design. These standards will ensure that as the area becomes more densely populated, new neighborhoods are livable and attractive.

Proposed standards for roads require streetscapes with wide sidewalks, on-street parking and through-streets that provide an interconnected neighborhood street grid that is easier for bikes and pedestrians to navigate.

Garages and driveways would have to be located behind the building or de-emphasized by setting them back and making them narrower.

Building design standards will be required for all housing that focuses on quality architecture. For example, buildings are required to include variations in color and material or details like cornices.