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Historic & Culturally Significant Sites

City Adopts New Policies for Reviewing Impacts to Historic or Culturally Significant Sites


October 30, 2019



Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@ci.tacoma.wa.us, (253) 591-5152
Megan Snow, Media and Communications, msnow@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5051

City Adopts New Policies for Reviewing Impacts to Historic or Culturally Significant Sites


An ordinance recently approved by the Tacoma City Council will help preserve historically significant buildings or culturally significant sites regardless of their historic designation status.


The ordinance provides specific guidelines and thresholds sites must meet to be eligible for additional permit review by the Historic Preservation Office.


“These new procedures will assist the City to do its due diligence assessing potential impacts to our heritage that may result from development activities, while continuing to accommodate growth and provide efficient permitting services,” said Reuben McKnight, Tacoma’s Historic Preservation Officer. “This will fill a gap in our environmental review procedures.”


In addition, the existing municipal code has been revised to clarify the language on cultural resource review for identifying historic or archaeologically significant sites impacted by proposed development.

As a result of these changes, demolition permits that affect older buildings and meet other thresholds, including location within a mixed use center or National Register Historic District, or square footage exceeding 4,000 square feet, will be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Officer for historic significance.


“Establishing a policy for reviewing all historic buildings and cultural sites meeting the threshold helps drive more equitable preservation throughout the city,” McKnight added.


The code changes will exist alongside similar existing regulations already protecting buildings listed on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. The amendments take effect Thursday, October 31.


More information about the City’s Historic Preservation Office is available at cityoftacoma.org/historicpreservation.