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There are many opportunities to take an active role in your local government. The City of Gig Harbor has seven citizen boards and commissions on which residents help shape the future of our community by serving, in an advisory capacity, to the Gig Harbor City Council. Find more information about these volunteer opportunities on our Boards and Commissions page.
Buildings other than single family and duplexes, usually (but not always) require other city division plan review and permits. It is because of the "multiple-division" nature of the permit that makes it seem like a difficult process. However, if a complete and detailed application meeting the requirements of each city division for review is submitted for processing, difficulties can be minimized. (ie: Site Plan, Conditional Use, Shoreline Management Permits).
It is important to remember that different state and federal agencies may have additional application requirements and review standards. You are strongly encouraged to contact these agencies about their permitting requirements.
After plans have been approved by other divisions for Site Plan compliance, etc., a building permit takes anywhere from 30 to 60 days to obtain. A building permit for a single family dwelling usually takes 10-20 days.
Substantial progress on construction must commence within 180 days of the date of issuance or the permit will be voided by the building official. An approved permit is valid for 180 days from issuance provided that substantial progress (an approved inspection) has been made. The permit is then valid for an additional 180 days with the same criteria above being applied.
An extension of time for not more than 180 days may be granted by the Building Official upon receipt of a written request provided the request is received prior to the expiration of the permit under which work was being done.
Before considering starting a business, be sure to check with the Building and Planning Departments to find out if your business is allowed in the area you are proposing and whether any remodeling plans will meet current code requirements. This is important to do, especially before making a commitment to lease or buy space.
Peddlers and Solicitors must apply directly with the city; not through the state. Please visit the Peddlers/Solicitors Licenses page for information on how to apply.
The City of Gig Harbor is participating in a joint business licensing program with the State of Washington Business Licensing Service. Most businesses may now apply online for the City of Gig Harbor and various state and local agencies using a single form with addendum pages for each participating municipality.
Visit the City of Gig Harbor License Information Page. You will be instructed how to apply online or by mail. You will receive faster service when you apply online and will generally have your Business License within approximately two weeks. Questions about the Business License Application form or the City of Gig Harbor Endorsement Addendum form should be directed to the Department of Revenue at 800-451-7985. You will receive one Business License from the State showing both your city and state business licenses. Please note that your license is subject to City approval, in particular, zoning approval by the City’s Planning department for businesses physically located within city limits.
Businesses operated from your home within city limits are called "Home-Occupation". It is important to obtain information from the Planning Department about the rules governing home occupations and what regulations apply. The fees are the same and you may use the same application process. Indicate on the application that you are applying for a home occupation license. Call the Planning Department at 253-851-6170 for more information.
For Hire (PDF) companies and drivers must be approved at city hall to operate locally. These applicants must get approvals based on the physical address of their office, regardless of where they operate.
All marijuana-related uses are prohibited in the City limits. See Ordinance Number 1323 (PDF).
The license is renewable yearly. You will be sent a renewal notice from the State of Washington.
The Business Licensing Service charges a late renewal penalty fee of 50% of the amount of the combined licensing fees due for a business location, up to $150 maximum. In order to avoid being charged this penalty fee, it is important that you submit your renewal application before the expiration date. It's easy to do at the new My DOR link.
If you have retail sales within the boundaries of the City of Gig Harbor you should use the City’s 4-digit location code 2708 on the Washington Combined Excise Tax Return, line 18. If your business is located within the Hospital Benefit Zone District (see link below), you will report to the 4-digit location code 2788. For more information about the Hospital Benefit Zone (HBZ) district look at this map (PDF).
All businesses operated not-for-profit must obtain a business license, however, they are exempt from paying a business license fee upon satisfactory proof of non-profit status by submitting this information to the Department of Revenue.
The City of Gig Harbor has zoning requirements to provide for orderly development. Certain businesses are allowed in certain areas of the city. Before considering starting a business, contact the Planning Department, to ask whether your proposed business is allowed in the area, especially before making a commitment to lease or buy space!
The Fire Marshal Inspection is required by code and free of charge with your business license approval. This service is to assure the city and yourself, the business owner, that any safety issues have been addressed, such as blocked emergency exits and sufficient fire extinguishers. The inspection will be repeated on an annual basis.
Please be aware that remodeling requires a Building Permit. Please obtain these permits before commencing any remodeling activities. Find more information about building permits in the building permit FAQs (PDF).
Before making any additions or modifications to signage, you will need to apply for a Sign Permit (PDF).
To download an Excel Spreadsheet of the latest version of the Business License List: September, 2019
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees you the right to be assisted by legal counsel during criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford legal counsel and meet the federal poverty guidelines, you will be provided legal counsel at the city’s expense.
The public defender cannot represent you until the Judge appoints him/her to your case. In order to qualify you must be indigent, and thus unable to pay for the services of a private legal attorney. RCW 10.101.010 defines indigent, and explains the requirements that must be met in order to qualify as indigent.
Each court is different. At Gig Harbor Municipal Court, you will have the opportunity to apply for a public defender at your first hearing by completing the application located inside the courtroom. The judge will review your completed application and make a determination of whether you qualify for public defense services. You may also apply for public defense services at any point during the case.
If the judge has determined that you qualify for public defense services, an attorney from the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel will be appointed to your case. You will be notified in writing by the Court Clerk of your attorney’s name and contact information before you leave the courtroom. In most cases the attorney assigned to your case will be the same attorney present during your arraignment.
A public defender has the same responsibilities as a private defense attorney, including but not limited to, being present during all of your court appearances, answering your questions regarding the case, and providing legal advice in your case. If your case proceeds to trial, a public defender will perform the same actions as would a private attorney, including execution of discovery, deposing witnesses, calling witnesses during trial, and cross-examining the prosecution's witnesses during trial. A public defender is also able to negotiate with prosecution during pre-trial proceedings, potentially reaching a resolution not requiring a jury trial.
A public defender is unable to assist you with any legal questions unrelated to the case to which he/she has been assigned. Areas public defenders are unable to assist with include cases in which charges have not yet been filed, appeals of any kind, civil infractions, and Department of Licensing (DOL) hearings regarding your driver’s license.
View the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel's staff directory.
If you are concerned with the conduct of your public defender, please use the contact information below to report your concern. In your correspondence, please provide your name and case number, and specifically identify the issues that are creating your concern. You may email, mail, or personally deliver your correspondence to:
Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel Attn: Michael Kawamura 949 Market Street, Suite 334 Tacoma, WA 98402 (253) 798-6062
Email Michael Kawamura
Additional information about lawyer conduct is available at the Washington State Bar Association webpage.
When you request a Mitigation Hearing you agree you have committed the infraction(s) but want to explain the circumstances. The court may reduce the fine where allowed by law or you may seek a Deferred Finding to keep the infraction off your driving record. You can download the Mitigation by Mail Request form (PDF).
When you request a Contested Hearing you deny you committed the infraction(s). The city must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you committed the infraction. A Contested Hearing is similar to a mini-trial. You have the right to subpoena the officer or any witness that may assist you. All witnesses must be subpoenaed no later than 14 days before the hearing. You must also submit the list of witnesses to the City Prosecutor. The Prosecutor has the right to represent the City of Gig Harbor if he/she chooses. You must appear in person at a contested hearing. Hearings by mail are not allowed for contested hearings.
When you fail to respond to your ticket within 15 days as directed on your copy of the citation OR when you fail to appear in Court as directed the Court will take action to commit your ticket, assess a penalty, and place a suspension on your driver’s license. After the Court takes this action your only option for a hearing is to request a “Show Cause Hearing” pursuant to CR LJ 60(b). You must do so in writing, handwritten or typed. The show cause hearing is simply to address the issue of your failure to appear in Court as directed or failure to respond to your ticket as directed under IR LJ 3.2. If the judge finds “Good Cause” or simply a good reason for your failure to respond or to appear then he/she may decide to set a hearing of your choice. You may then proceed with a Mitigation (see above description). Download Motion For Show Cause form.
According to the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts, the distribution of a $124 traffic ticket is:
Events in a trial usually happen in a particular order, though the order may be changed by the judge. The usual order of events:
In the courtroom, your judge will tell you about the case, then introduce the lawyers and others who are involved in it. You will also take an oath, in which you will promise to answer all questions truthfully.
After you're sworn in, the judge and the lawyers will question you and other members of the panel to find out if you have any knowledge about the case, any personal interest in it, or any feelings that might make it hard for you to be impartial. This questioning process is called voir dire, which means "to speak the truth."
Though some of the questions may seem personal, you should answer them completely and honestly.
Remember: Questions are not asked to embarrass you. They are intended to make sure members of the jury have no opinions or past experiences which might prevent them from making an impartial decision.
Annexation is a public process to expand a city’s jurisdiction to areas adjacent to existing city limits. Through annexation, a city extends voting privileges, taxing
and governing authorities, and municipal services to appropriate areas.
The following are reasons why to annex:
No. Local property and sales tax rates are largely uniform across the Gig Harbor Peninsula. Annexation usually results in lower property taxes because the city levy is generally less than the County-specific road levy. However, utility costs are slightly higher in the City due to a municipal tax of 5%.
No. Existing properties do not have to connect to the city sewer or water system. The operational costs of city utilities are paid for by customers through connection and service fees, not by the City’s general fund.
No. Policies and service areas for water companies, private utilities, schools, fire protection, Emergency Medical Services, and library are not impacted by annexation. Property owners annexed into the City will remain in the PenMet Park District unless both the City Council and the PenMet Board formally agree to remove the annexed area from the PenMet boundaries.
Generally, no. Current uses and structures are allowed to continue in the manner that exists at the time of annexation. While new development or expansion would have to comply with city standards, the regulations in urban growth areas are nearly identical to city standards.
Listing on the City’s Register of Historic Places does not take away property rights. The ordinance specifically states register status as “voluntary”. And while it is hoped that once listed, the site or object will continue its status as a significant cultural asset, nothing prevents a property owner from “delisting” their property.
Generally speaking, if your home is 50 years old or more, represents a distinct architectural style or period that is culturally significant to Gig Harbor’s history, is associated with an important individual or event, or has local, state or national significance, your property may be eligible for listing on the local, state or national register of historic places. This can include landscapes, objects or individual “contributing” structures. The City also offers a Netshed allowance for properties that want to preserve their netshed.
Any building, structure, or site may be designated for inclusion in the City of Gig Harbor historic preservation register if it is significantly associated with the history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or cultural heritage of the community, if it has integrity; is at least 50 years old, or is of lesser age and has exceptional importance. Learn more about the specific criteria, process for designation, removal of properties, and more on the Registering a Property page.
It's older than Leah.
The colored designations in the Shoreline Map (JPG) represent Shoreline Planning Segments in the Shoreline Master Plan. These regulations impact 8.8 miles of Puget Sound and adjacent shorelands in Gig Harbor including properties on Gig Harbor Bay, the sandpit, Henderson Bay, Burley Lagoon and Colvos Passage/Tacoma Narrows. They do not impact streams or lakes.
For general zoning and land use questions a staff member from the planning department the, "Planner of the Day", is generally available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer phone calls and questions from walk-in-customers at the counter. You can call 253-851-6170 and ask for the Planner of the Day during the specific days and times available.
The City of Gig Harbor offers an optional Pre-Application Conference for people considering applying for permits within the City. This forum allows an opportunity for those interested in developing a parcel, construction of a new structure, renovating an existing structure or subdividing or rezoning a parcel to sit down with a staff member from the Planning, Engineering and Building departments to discuss their proposal. There is a pre-application fee for this service but it allows a potential applicant to get more detailed feedback on a potential project than can be obtained at the counter. If you have any questions please contact Planning Assistant Cindy Andrews by Email or call 253-853-7608.
Any applicant wishing to submit a Type II, Type III, Type III-A or Type IV land use application is required to call ahead and schedule an application intake appointment. Intake appointments are scheduled for Tuesday morning and generally last about one hour.
Applicants will meet with members of the Planning, Engineering and Building staff at the Planning counter to determine the completeness of their application. Application submittals must be complete to be accepted. If you have any questions please contact Planning Assistant Cindy Andrews by Email or by phone at 253-853-7608.
All checklists have been customized to meet the criteria for every individual land use application. An application is considered complete upon submittal of all of the information requested in the checklist. Planning Application Checklists are located on the Checklists, Applications and Fees page. If you have any questions please contact Planning Assistant Cindy Andrews by Email or by phone at 253-853-7608.
Gig Harbor City limits is much smaller than many people expect. Locations in Unincorporated Pierce County also have a "Gig Harbor" mailing address making it confusing when requesting public services. Click below for a link to City boundary maps.
View the address and map for the Gig Harbor Police Department.
It is located in the Civic Center - the same building as the Police Department. The Court Clerks are located on the main floor, to the right as you enter the building.
According to the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts, the distribution of a typical traffic ticket ($136) is distributed as follows:
Funds retained by City of Gig Harbor $ 47.67 (35.05%)Funds retained by State of Washington $ 88.33 (64.95%)
The funds retained by the City go into the General Fund and is generally used for Court operations, Police, Prosecutors, and Defense Attorneys.
Inside the City of Gig Harbor call 253-851-2236, extension 1 or 2.
If you are a resident of the City of Gig Harbor or work for a business that is located in the city and the fingerprints are for that business, you can be fingerprinted by the Police Department on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. You will be charged $10 for up to two cards, then $3 for each additional card. This may be paid by cash, check, credit card or money order.
Please bring photo identification and a fingerprint card with you. Print cards may be acquired from the requester of the prints. If you live outside the City contact the Pierce County Sheriff's Office at 253-798-7441. If you do not have fingerprint cards, you may contact the Washington State Patrol at 360-534-2000 and request that they be mailed to you. You may then bring them to the Gig Harbor Police Department.
Contact CSO Adam Blodgett at 253-853-2428.
Do not just throw away or flush your unused prescription drugs! There is a drop box outside of the Gig Harbor Police Department office. You can dispose of any unused prescription drugs during hours of operation, 8 a.m. to 5pm on Monday through Friday. We cannot accept needles or liquids. The Gig Harbor Police Department can provide you with information on how to dispose of these items.
Yes. See the Gig Harbor Municipal Code Title 6 Animal Control for more information. Learn about the fees and process of obtaining a Gig Harbor Pet License.
The "leash law" does not apply to cats. Gig Harbor Municipal code, Chapter 6.04.050 states that it is unlawful for dogs to run at large, free of a leash, cage, or other physical restraint, if not on the dog’s owner or dog’s handler property or if the dog is in an area identified as "off-leash".
The noise level from a vehicle is not to be heard over 50 feet from the vehicle. For more information, view the Gig Harbor Municipal Code Title 9.34.020.
Concealed pistol permits are issued through the Gig Harbor Police Department, providing that you reside within the city limits of Gig Harbor. Visit the Concealed Pistol Permit page for more information.
Anyone interested in becoming an intern can contact the Chief of Police for an interview and more information.
Visit the Public Safety Testing website for more information.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can request an application from the Police Department. All applicants must successfully pass a local and national background check and meet the requirements set forth by the Department. The Chief of Police interviews all applicants and makes a decision based on his findings.
Contact the Police Department that investigated the accident. If it was within the Gig Harbor city limits, call 253-851-2236, extension 2.
Contact the department where the incident was reported. A "request for public disclosure" requires a signature and identification. If you are involved in the incident, the report may be available if completed and approved. If you are not involved you may receive a redacted copy (information deleted per disclosure regulations) of the incident report disclosing the fact that the incident occurred, the time, the place and what happened.
Contact Pierce County. This website is maintained by the Washington State Patrol. You can also submit your fingerprints to the WA State Patrol and request a background check or copy of any criminal records on record.
Check the Pierce County Sheriff's website or call 253-798-4721.
Visit the Crime Mapping website.
To report a crime dial 911 for emergencies. To report an incident to an officer that is not an emergency, call 253-851-2236, extension 1 or 253-798-4722. To report an incident outside the City limits of Gig Harbor, call 798-4722 (Pierce County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction).
Contact the Police Department and ask to speak to a supervisor.
If the vehicle is within city limits, report the abandoned vehicle to the City of Gig Harbor Police Department at 253-851-2236. If the vehicle is on Highway 16, contact the Washington State Patrol or Pierce County Sheriff.
City residents can call 253-851-2236, extension 1 to report the graffiti. Call an officer for pictures and a report. Graffiti removal is the property owner's responsibility. Note: if an arrest is made the property owner may request restitution from the courts.
If you cannot locate the owner, contact your local Police or Sheriff's office for assistance to identify the registered owner.
The presence of the minerals iron and manganese are found at various levels in most water sources. These minerals can cause problems from discolored water, to staining of plumbing fixtures and some may even affect taste. These problems occur before becoming a health hazard. Because these minerals build up over time on most portions of the distribution system, flushing is done by the Public Works staff to minimize negative effects. Please call 253-851-8136 to report an issue.
You do not need to buy bottled water for health reasons if your drinking meets all of the federal and state drinking water standards. Bottled water costs up to 1,000 times more than your tap drinking water.
All of Gig Harbor water comes to you from a series of underground aquifers. This means that the water you consume is pumped from a series of wells to your home or business through our system of pipe.
We are pleased to report that your water meets or exceeds all health-related standards for quality and safety, according to the State of Washington Department of Health. The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) divides drinking water standards into two categories: Primary and Secondary. Primary standards relate to constituents that affect public health. Secondary standards relate to constituents that affect esthetic qualities such as appearance, taste, odor and color.
Regulatory ScheduleThe regulatory schedule for testing the Gig Harbor Water production wells is as follows:
We try to process permits as quickly as possible once all the documents and requirements of the Encroachment Permit Application have been submitted to the City. You will usually receive an approved permit within1 week of a completed application being submitted.
The easiest way to think about this is the level of oversight and inspection by City staff that will be required. For example, if work is being conducted in the Right-of-Way for any length of time, a regular Encroachment Permit will be required as it may require inspection by City Staff. If you are parking a moving truck in the Right-of-Way for three days this would only require a temporary Encroachment Permit as no oversight will be required by City Staff.
A Performance Bond is required to protect the City from substandard work done in the Right-of-Way. The Performance Bond should before 125% of the construction costs OR $5,000, whichever is the greater amount. A cost estimate should always be submitted with the Performance Bond.
IF the Performance Bond for the Civil Permit includes the work in the Right-of-Way as part of the scope, a new Performance Bond will not be required. If you have a Performance Bond and the work in the Right-of-Way is not included in the scope that the bond covers, a new Performance Bond will be required for the work in the Right-of-Way.
Yes. Signage and A-Boards also require an Encroachment Permit and Certificate of Insurance to be submitted to the City of Gig Harbor. If signage / A-Boards are put up in the Right-of-Way without obtaining an Encroachment Permit, the signage may be removed by City Staff.
For a typical civil review of commercial, plat, or short plat development 7 sets of plans are required for plan reviewers. Please note: the Public Works Department will be implementing Electronic Plan Review in 2018.
Please note: the Public Works Department will be implementing Electronic Plan Review in 2018.
Commercial development, subdivisions, and short plats require frontage improvements if none currently exist.
All impact fees and GFC’s are paid during the building permit process.
Yes. In the event that the City is required to step in and complete a private development project, the City will be required to pay prevailing wages to its contractors and subcontractors; the developer’s posted Performance Bond will be used to cover this cost by the City.
The bond or cash set-aside is submitted after the developer-provided Engineer’s Estimate has been reviewed and approved by the City.
The bond amount shall be 125% of the approved Engineer’s Estimate.
Any private sanitary sewer or stormwater infrastructure will require maintenance agreements to ensure the City is able to inspect the pipe(s) and/or structure(s) and make emergency repairs if necessary.
After all associated civil permit fees (EN plan review, construction inspection, latecomer’s agreement, copy) have been paid, executed Performance Bond is submitted, civil construction drawings have been signed and copies made for the Applicant.
The City of Gig Harbor 2016 Stormwater and Site Development Manual is used for stormwater design, criteria, standards and requirements.
Designs and land use managementstrategies that use onsite natural features, pervious pavements, rain gardens,bioretention and soil enhancement, emphasizing conservation.
If your project is one acre or more in size and drains to “waters of the state” the permit will be required. Best to check with Washington State Department of Ecology for more information.
Street corners covered with overgrown vegetation and other plants that obstruct our view of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other cars coming our way are a definite hazard to the traveling public. It is critical to traffic safety that these areas remain free and clear. These areas often occur at intersections in neighborhoods where homeowners plant and fail to maintain shrubs or build fences that block a driver’s view. Please call the Public Works Department at 253-851-8136 to report these obstructions.
Some street lights in Gig Harbor are owned and maintained by the City and others are owned and maintained by Peninsula Light Company. If you notice a street light that is in need of repair, you can call the Public Works Department at 253-851-8136. After hours call 253-530-6888. So that we can more quickly identify the street light’s location, please provide the address and pole number if possible.
The City welcomes reports from drivers about roadways in need of repair. To report a pothole, call Public Works at 253-851-8136. Please provide us with the exact location.
A STOP sign that is missing, damaged, or obstructed in some way from a driver's view creates the potential for an extremely hazardous traffic condition and should be reported to the City right away. Call Public Works at 253-851-8136. After hours call 253-530-6888.
Please visit our Obtaining a Special Event Permit page for more information.
The fee for a not for Profit event is $150. The For-Profit event fee is $500. Fees are due at time of application.
The Special Event application, fees, and all required documents must be filed at least 60 days prior to the event. If the event constitutes a road closure, the application is due no less than 90 days prior to the event.
Additional Requirements (along with the application and fees and other required permit applications):
The applicant shall submit proof of liability insurance naming the City of Gig Harbor as an additional insured by endorsement. Coverage shall remain in force throughout the event. The insurance shall be written on an occurrence form by an insurance company with a minimum a.m. Best rating of A-VII. The policy shall have primary coverage limits of at least: $1,000,000 Commercial General Liability (per occurrence), $2,000,000 annual aggregate. $1,000,000 Products per occurrence (if food and/or beverage vending is part of the event); $1,000,000 Personal and Advertising Injury, $50,000 each occurrence; $1 000-000-Fire Legal Liability; and $1,000,000 Damage to premises. Liquor liability coverage with a minimum of $1,000,000 is required for events where alcohol is served. Additional permitting may be required where alcohol is served.
In the event a sponsoring organization fails to adequately provide clean-up in accordance with the plan submitted, the City may conduct the necessary clean-up and bill the sponsoring organization for such costs. Expenses incurred by City staff in support of your event may also be billed. The sponsoring organization must make payment to the City upon receipt of the City’s invoice for such costs.
The Chief of Police may require traffic control or additional on-site security. If these law enforcement functions cannot be handled by the sponsor, and the use of additional police personnel are required, the permittee shall be responsible for the expense. This fee will be collected prior to issuance of the permit. The sponsoring organization may be asked to provide a traffic control diagram if there will be road closures with barricades, detours, etc.
Your sewer bill is based upon your water consumption. Outdoor water use (such as irrigation, car washing and recreational use) does not typically enter the city’s wastewater system and using winter averaging consumption rates therefore, prevents the wastewater portion of your utility from spiking during the summer.
Consumption information is calculated during the two winter billing periods to arrive at the winter average. For example, if your water use for December/January bill was 20 ccfs (1 ccf =100 cubic feet) and your February/March bill was 10 ccfs your total for the two periods would be 30 ccfs. The winter use period is two billing cycles so you would divide the use for the two periods or 30 ccfs by two and your winter consumption average would 15 ccfs. The figure of 15 ccfs would be your maximum sewer charges per two-month billing cycle for the upcoming year.
If an account uses less water than the winter averaging rate, the sewer charges would reflect charges for the actual water use. For example if your winter averaging rate was 15 ccfs and your current water consumption was 10 ccfs your sewer charges would reflect 10 ccfs of sewer use.
The winter averaging rate is effective April 1st of each year.
Reducing overall water use during the winter averaging period is essential in cutting your sewer charges for the coming year. This reduction can be accomplished by fixing all leaks as soon as possible (toilets, faucets, service lines, irrigation systems).
Please note: If you have a water leak during this time period which caused your water consumption to be higher than usual, it is extremely important to notify the billing office at 253-851-6157.