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Correctional and Detention Facilities Regulations

Regulations Adopted - February 20, 2018

On February 20, 2018, the City Council adopted Amended Ordinance No. 28491, concerning the Correctional and Detention Facilities Permanent Regulations.   The ordinance becomes effective on March 4, 2018, superseding the interim regulations enacted on May 9, 2017.


The adopted regulations would provide distinct definitions for "correctional facility" and "detention facility"; allow correctional and detention facilities only in M-1 zones that are in place as of January 1, 2018, with a conditional use permit; and as part of the conditional use, require a 2,500-foot notification and a pre-application meeting.


The adopted regulations are based on the Planning Commission's recommendation from January 17, 2018, with some modifications.  The Council had conducted a public hearing on the subject on February 6, 2018.


Posted below are Amended Ordinance No. 28491, and for the record, the Council's public hearing notice:

  • Amended Ordinance No. 28491, Adopting Correctional and Detention Facilities Permanent Regulations (February 20, 2018) 
  • City Council Public Hearing Notice (February 6, 2018)    
  • Planning Commission Recommendations

    Review the Planning Commission's recommendation packet on the subject from January 17, 2018:

  • Proposed Correctional and Detention Facilities Permanent Regulations - Planning Commission Recommendation (January 17, 2018)  
  • Planning Commission Reviews 

    The Commission began the process of developing draft permanent regulations in November 2017; put forward for public review in December proposed regulations that were generally the same as those set forth in Ordinance No. 28429; conducted a public hearing on January 3, 2018; and at the January 17, 2018 meeting, reviewed public comments, modified the proposed permanent regulations accordingly, and formulated its recommendation to the City Council.


    Posted below are the packets of information reviewed by the Commission at its meetings in November 2017 through January 2018:

  • Planning Commission Review Packet (January 17, 2018)  
  • Planning Commission Review Packet (January 3, 2018)  
  • Public Review Packet for Planning Commission Public Hearing (January 3, 2018)
  • Determination of Environmental Nonsignificance and Environmental Checklist (December 14, 2017) 
  • Planning Commission Review Packet (December 6, 2017)  
  • Planning Commission Review Packet (November 15, 2017)
  • Planning Commission Review Packet (November 1, 2017)     
  • Council Modified the Interim Regulations on May 9, 2017

    The City Council adopted Ordinance No. 28429 on May 9, 2017, modifying the Correctional Facilities Interim Regulations (Ordinance No. 28417), as follows:

    • Revise the regulations so they regulate public and private correctional facilities in the same manner
    • Revise the permit modification standards to indicate that any modifications that would increase the inmate capacity of an existing facility shall be processed as a major modification
    • Modify the Conditional Use Permit process standards to ensure significant community engagement as part of any permit for significant modification of an existing correctional facility
    • Extend the duration of the Interim Regulations from six months to one year (to expire on March 6, 2018)

    Council Public Hearing on April 25

    The City Council conducted a public hearing on April 25, 2017, concerning the Correctional Facilities Interim Regulations.

  • City Council Public Hearing Notice (April 25, 2017)
  • Per the Council's request, the Planning Commission was scheduled to formulate its findings of fact and recommendations concerning the imposition of the interim regulations to the City Council on April 19, but was not successful in reaching a consensus on a final version of their recommendations.  Nonetheless, the Commission decided to forward the draft recommendations as the work-to-date to keep the Council abreast of their observations, concerns and deliberations.

  • Planning Commission's Draft Recommendation Packet (April 21, 2017) 
  • Interim Regulations Enacted on March 7

    By adopting Ordinance No. 28417 on March 7, 2017, the City Council enacted emergency interim zoning regulations pertaining to correctional facilities and set April 25, 2017 as the date for a public hearing on the matter.  The interim regulations are effective for six months (through September 6, 2017) or until the City’s zoning regulations for correctional facilities are permanently updated.  The interim regulations amend the Tacoma Municipal Code, Sections 13.06.100, 13.06.200, 13.06.300, 13.06.400, and 13.06.700, as follows:

    • Modify the use definition of “correctional facility” to clearly differentiate between public and private correctional facilities;
    • Prohibit the siting of private correctional facilities in all zoning districts;
    • Remove public correctional facilities as a permitted use in multi-family and light-industrial zoning districts (i.e., R-4L, R-4, R-5, and M-1); and
    • Modify how public correctional facilities are permitted by requiring approval of a Conditional Use Permit in all districts in which they are allowed (currently, M-2 Heavy Industrial and PMI Port Maritime & Industrial).

    Legislative Intent

    The adoption of emergency Ordinance No. 28417 is intended to prohibit or require conditional use permits for new or expanded correctional facilities in the interim and to allow time for the City Council and the Planning Commission to conduct appropriate research, analyze potential impacts and applicable local, state and regional policies, and determine the appropriate permanent regulatory framework for public and private correctional facilities in Tacoma.


    Relevant Documents

  • City Council Public Hearing Notice (April 25, 2017)   
  • Planning Commission Review Packet (April 19, 2017)  
  • Planning Commission Review Packet (April 5, 2017)  
  • Ordinance No. 28417 (March 7, 2017)
  • Staff Contacts

    Ian Munce, Special Assistant to the Director

    (253) 573-2478



    Lihuang Wung, Senior Planner

    (253) 591-5682