Planning Services



The City of Sequim Planning Division administers the development codes adopted by City Council. These codes include the Subdivision, Zoning, Shoreline, Environmental, and Building Codes and are essentially the City’s “contract” to develop within the City. The development codes implement policies found in the Comprehensive Plan, Downtown Plan, Shoreline Master Program, Parks Master Program and Transportation Plan.

Planning staff provides customer service for all permit activities (related to these codes) throughout the development review process. Staff are also available to the public regarding any and all questions concerning the different development code requirements.

Development Services processes over 30 different types of land use actions and permits, the most requested including:

  • Building and sign permits
  • Minor and major subdivisions
  • Boundary line adjustments 
  • Shoreline permits
  • Environmental review (under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)

Development Services staff also participate with other staff in formulating new code provisions to implement policies as adopted by the Council and constantly researches new ways to streamline the development review process and provide friendly customer service.

Long-Range Planning

Long range planning activities include implementation of the State’s Growth Management Act and preparing and updating the Comprehensive Plan. Long-range planning coordinates regulatory responsibility with other departments, State and Federal agencies (e.g., State Department of Ecology and Federal Emergency Management Agency).

Long range planning involves setting goals and policy to achieve the community's desired balance of growth, environmental protection, and quality of life. 

Active LONG-RANGE Projects:

Comprehensive Plan updates

Master Plans, SubArea Plans & Zoning Maps

Master plans provide more specific guidance for different topics or purposes. A master plan is specific to topic; for instance, Parks Master Plans, Sewer and Water Master Plans are Master Plans. Overlays provide specific direction for a location. For instance, the City’s Downtown Plan is an Overlay providing specific direction for development in the Downtown district. These documents align with the Comprehensive Plan, are more detailed, provide implementation strategies and action items.  

Zoning Standards, Development and Design Regulations

The Comprehensive Plan provides the vision for growth and development along with high-level goals. The Master Plans and Overlays provide further guidance. The Zoning, Development and Design Codes also must align with the Comprehensive Plan for the vision and goals to be achieved. These standards are the legal requirements for how the City lays out the built environment and makes the vision become a reality.

Current Planning Projects

Current planning involves the review of permits to ensure consistency with the Sequim Municipal Code. Planners check for compliance with numerous standards, including:

  • Zoning – setbacks, density, allowed and prohibited uses (SMC Chapter 18)
  • Critical Areas (SMC Chapter 18.80)
  • Commercial/Multi-family design standards (SMC Chapter 18.24)
  • Sign code (SMC Chapter 18.58)

For information on our current planning projects, see our Current Projects page, call (360) 683-4908 or email

Hearing Examiner

Cities and counties in Washington State have statutory authority to establish a hearing examiner system. Under a hearing examiner system, a city or county hires or contracts with a hearing examiner to conduct quasi-judicial hearings, usually in place of local bodies such as the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustment, the Board of County Commissioners, or the City Council.

The appointed hearing examiner's role is to assure fairness and due process protection for all involved in the process, and to make land use decisions in an efficient manner and in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations. No oral decision is made at the hearing; the examiner will review all submitted exhibits and prepare a written report, which includes findings of fact and conclusions of law, within 10 days of the official closing.


The Planning Commission is a seven-member citizen panel responsible for advising the City Council on matters related to long-range community planning, such as the adopted Sequim Comprehensive Plan. The commission and its duties are outlined in Sequim Municipal Code, Chapter 2.36. For more information about our Planning Commission, or to apply for a seat, see our Planning Commission webpage.


The Shoreline Master Program is Title 19 of the Sequim Municipal Code. The program was recently updated and adopted by the Department of Ecology.

Land Use Review Types

Administrative (Department Director) Quasi-Judicial (Hearing Examiner) Legislative (City Council and/or Planning Commission)
Type A-1 Type B Type C-2
Type A-2 Type C-1  
  Type C-2  
Other land use applications may be found on our Forms & Applications page under "Land Use Permit Applications".