Community Development

Community Development is responsible for land use and building permit services and long-range planning programs. The mission of the department is to ensure that the natural and built environments are healthy, safe, and reflect the community's vision by providing exceptional customer service, listening to our customers, and proactively solving problems. Community Development staff welcomes the opportunity to guide your project from conception to construction.

We recommend you meet with Community Development staff before leasing or purchasing a property or tenant space. City staff can help determine if your location is properly zoned for your construction project or type of business.


Jeffrey Watson

Interim Community Development Director

400 SW 152nd St
Suite 300
Burien, WA 98166
Ph: (206) 248-5510

The Community Development department is made up of the planning and building divisions.

Planning Division

Planning staff review projects for zoning conformance and environmental impact. Community planning shapes the broad vision for the City’s future and works to find the right balance of new development and essential services, and environmental protection. The Planning Division assists the City Council, Planning Commission, and Burien residents with developing a vision for Burien’s future and setting land use policy to guide decisions toward that vision. The City also coordinates with regional agencies on transportation, growth, and environmental issues.

Community planning can be citywide such as the Comprehensive Plan, or focus on a specific neighborhood or environmental areas such as the Downtown Burien Handbook or the Shoreline Master Plan.

Building Division

The building division exists to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the Burien community through knowledge of sound construction practices and application to existing codes. Staff stay current through state certification and industry courses. When you purchase a permit, you are getting the benefit of our collective knowledge to help maintain your health and safety. Your permit buys inspections and our assessments will ensure that your project stays on track and is built to code. Building staff review projects for structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical compliance.

The Building Division is responsible for handling the task of permits and permit reviews for the City of Burien. The building division processes many types of permits, including: construction, electrical, fire alarm, fire sprinkler, plumbing, mechanical and sign.

Updated October 4, 2023