Land Use Review

The Land Use Review is used by the City of Burien to determine if certain uses and projects comply with the zoning code and Comprehensive Plan and to provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposal and to inform residents about projects. There are four types of land use review. The zoning Code will indicate which type of land use review is required (if any) for a particular land use or project.

Types of Land Use Review

Type One Land Use Review

Type One Land Use Review involves a decision by the Community Development Director following issuance of a public notice, consideration of written public comments and review of a written staff recommendation. The director's decision can be appealed to the City's hearing examiner.

Type Two Land Use Review

The Type Two Land Use Review involves a decision by the City's hearing examiner following issuance of a public notice, holding of a public hearing, consideration of public comments, and review of a written staff recommendation. The hearing examiner's decision can be appealed to the City Council.

Type Three Land Use Review

The Type Three Land Use Review involves a decision by the City Council following issuance of a public notice, holding of a public hearing by the hearing examiner, consideration of public comments, and review of a written hearing examiner recommendation. The City Council's decision can be appealed to Superior Court.

Type Four Land Use Review

Type Four Land Use Review is used for items such as Zoning Code or Comprehensive Plan amendments: items that are legislative in nature rather than associated with a specific piece of land or a specific development project. Type Four Land Use Reviews are handled by the Planning Commission and City Council. Please contact the Department of Community Development at (206) 248-5510 if you're interested in the Type Four Land Use Review process.

Submittal Requirements

Listed below is information that relates to submittal requirements for various types of land use permit applications. Land use permits are approvals for land development, designs, and uses for future building construction, not permits for construction.

The following list is separated by category of need; however, depending on the project, multiple approvals across categories may be required.

Preliminary Review

A pre-application meeting allows for early feedback and direction from City staff on a development concept. It is structured to help you develop a complete formal application and a project design that is consistent with the Burien’s codes and policies for specific land use permits.The meeting occurs in the preliminary-development phase, before you submit a formal application of the proposed project.

Environmental Impacts

Various environmental regulations such as Critical Areas, Shorelines, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) can impact land use applications. The following is a list of land use applications which will enable you to develop property that has one or more environmental factors.

Shorelines

Burien’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP), a land use plan for local shoreline areas, applies to approximately five miles of marine shoreline along Puget Sound and Lake Burien. All proposed uses and development occurring within a shoreline jurisdiction must conform to Chapter 90.58 RCW, the Shoreline Management Act, and Burien’s Shoreline Master Program. 

Subdivide Properties or Adjust Boundaries

Land Use development, which includes dividing lots or adjusting lot lines between existing lots, requires a land use permit and process occur prior to construction. The following is a list of land use applications which relate specifically to the division of land or adjusting boundaries between legal lots.  

Short Plat Review

The Short Plat Review is used for review and approval of land division into four lots or less. This involves a decision by the Community Development Director following issuance of a public notice, consideration of written public comments and review of a written staff recommendation. The Director's decision can be appealed to the City's Hearing Examiner.

Once a short plat receives preliminary approval, all conditions of approval must be met and any required public improvements installed. Then, the final short plat must be signed by the City and recorded with King County.

Subdivision Review

The Subdivision Review is used for review and approval of land division into five lots or more. This involves a decision by the City Council following issuance of a public notice, holding of a public hearing by the Hearing Examiner, consideration of public comments, and review of a written Hearing Examiner recommendation. The City Council's decision can be appealed to Superior Court.

Lot Line Adjustment Criteria

The purpose of a Lot Line Adjustment is to accommodate a transfer of land between adjacent separate lots in order to correct property line or setback encroachment, create better lot design, or improve access without creating substandard lots or setback requirements. Lot line adjustments do not create additional building lots. The decision on a lot line adjustment application is made by Department of Community Development staff.

Common issues are: lot area, setbacks for existing structures (from the new lot lines), impervious surface coverage, and building coverage. If your site is located in or near a critical area staff will be reviewing whether the resulting lots have an adequate building area without encroaching into the critical area or its required buffer. The information you submit must have adequate detail so staff can determine if the resulting lots meet the requirements for a building site.

Comprehensive Plan Amendment

The City’s Comprehensive Plan establishes a vision and land use designations for all areas in Burien. Amending the City’s Comprehensive Plan to change the underlying land use designation of properties requires a Comprehensive Plan amendment. Applications for an amendment will be accepted from January 1 through March 31 of each year. A Comprehensive Plan amendment has to be approved prior to changing the zoning code or applying for a rezone. The following are applications relating to Comprehensive Plan amendments and Rezones.