Residential Moratorium

  1. Council Meeting Recap from May 14th, 2018

    City adopts amendments to moratorium and schedules second public hearing on code amendments related to residential density and uses. Read on...
  2. Responsible Growth for Gig Harbor

    Residential Moratorium Public Outreach Meeting April 30th, 2018 6:00pm to 8:00pm Read on...
  3. Message from Mayor Kuhn

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Six-month Temporary Moratorium on New Residential Development

At their February 12th, 2018 meeting, the City Council passed Ordinance 1383 declaring an immediate six-month moratorium on the acceptance of certain residential development applications. A public hearing on the ordinance occurred on March 26th. On May 14th, the Council adopted amendments to the moratorium to recognize all vested projects and projects that submitted site plan review application by February 12th, 2018. Please see the Effects of Moratorium below for more information on the amendments.
On May 29th the City Council will hold a second reading on zoning code changes to address residential density and development.  These amendments affect the R-1 zoning district, RB-2 zoning district, the Planned Residential Development platting tool and residential uses in the DB, B-2, and C-1 zoning districts.  The council packet for the May 29th meeting will be available by Wednesday, May 23rd on the calendar page .



Reason for the Moratorium:
The City Council noted that significant growth and development in the City is the cause of widespread concern of City residents expressed in the election of mayor and councilmembers in the 2017 election. In the last five years, the city population has risen by 30% and there are currently 1,200 dwelling units in the permit pipeline.  The Council has identified six potential code amendments that could address this residential growth, as shown on Exhibit A of the ordinance.


The council expressed concern that the rapid pace of residential development will continue and that there is the strong potential for additional residential development permits to be filed and become vested before the City staff, Planning Commission, and City Council can perform the study, public outreach and participation, and decision-making necessary to adopt any of those amendments.  


The Council felt that the vesting of additional residential land use permit applications prior to the completion of the desired study, public outreach and participation, and decision-making would be detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.


Effect of Moratorium:
The specific limitations of and exception to the moratorium can be found in Sections 3 and Sections 4 of Ord. 1383 and Section 1 of Ord. 1388. Below is a general summary of the effect.

For no longer than six months, unless the moratorium is extended, no new planning, civil, and building permit applications for residential development will be accepted. This includes preliminary plats, preliminary short plats, and site plan review for residential developments. The moratorium includes the shoreline area.

Recognizing vested rights and valid approvals, the City will accept final plats, final PRDs, final short plats, civil permits, and building permits for projects related to approved development agreements, and related to full, complete, and valid applications for a preliminary plat or preliminary short plat that were submitted prior to February 12th, 2018 and building permits for approved site plan applications that were submitted prior to February 12th, 2018.


The City will also continue to accept:

  • Permits for one single-family home on an existing recorded lot.
  • Permits for  repair, restoration, refurbishment, replacement and remodels of existing residential dwellings.
  • Permits for additions to single-family homes
  • Permits for accessory uses and structures
  • Boundary line adjustments

The moratorium does not apply to nonresidential developments.


Upcoming Meetings

On May 29th, the City Council will consider one item related to the moratorium at their regular meeting.  The Council will hold a public hearing and Second Reading of Ordinance on the following proposed amendments to the city’s Subdivision and Zoning Codes:


  1. Amend Gig Harbor Municipal Code (GHMC) Chapter 16.04 (Short Plats) to prohibit Serial Short Plats.
  2. Amend GHMC Chapter 17.14 (Land Use Matrix) to allow residential uses in the DB Downtown Business District as a permitted use above or below street-level nonresidential uses.  Amend GHMC Chapter 17.31 (DB Downtown Business District) to allow a maximum density of 8 dwelling units to the acre.  Amend GHMC Chapters 17.36 (B-2 General Business District) and 17.40 (C-1 Commercial District) to allow a maximum density of six dwelling units per acre.
  3. Amend GHMC Chapter 17.16 (R-1 Single-Family Residential) to eliminate the minimum residential density requirement.  A maximum residential density of 4 dwelling units to the acre would be retained.
  4. Amend GHMC Chapter 17.30 (RB-2 Residential & Business District) to eliminate the maximum of 12 dwelling units to the acre allowed through the Conditional Use Permit process.  The outright permitted 8 dwelling units to the acre would be retained.
  5. Amend GHMC Chapter 17.89 (PRD Planned Residential Development Zone) to eliminate the use of the Conditional Use Permit process to increase the maximum residential density allowed by the underlying zone that the PRD is combined with.

The meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers located in the Gig Harbor Civic Center at 3510 Grandview Street beginning at 5:30pm.  All interested persons are invited to attend and provide comments.


Written comments can also be provided to the Planning Department by 5:00pm on May 29, 2018 at 3510 Grandview Street in Gig Harbor or via e-mail to Acting Planning Director, Peter Katich at katichp@cityofgigharbor.net


Past Meetings

  • For review of May 14th City Council meeting packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here
  • For review of May 7th Planning and Building Committee meeting packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here
  • For review of May 3rd Planning Commission meeting packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here
  • For review of April 30th Planning and Building Committee meeting packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here
  • For review of April 23, 2018 City Council meeting, the packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here.
  • For the audio recording of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the moratorium, click here.
  •  For review of the April 2nd Planning and Building Committee meeting packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here
  • For review of March 26th, 2018 City Council meeting, the packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here.
  • For review of the March 5th, 2018 Planning & Building Committee meeting, the packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here.
  • For review of the February 12th, 2018 City Council meeting, the packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here.
  • For review of the February 5th,2018 City Council work-study session on addressing residential growth, the packet, audio recording, and minutes, click here.
  • For review of the January 31,2018 City Council / Staff Retreat,
    click here.

Background and Supporting Documents

Project Flow Table from May 14th Council Meeting
All Public Comments through May 4th

Message from your Mayor Kit Kuhn- April 12th, 2018

Council Bill for Residential Moratorium- March 26th, 2018 Public Hearing

Council Bill for Planning Assistance Services Contract- March 26th, 2018 Public Hearing

Initial work plan memo to Planning & Building Committee- March 5th, 2018.

Ordinance 1383– Adopted and effective February 12th, 2018
Addressing Growth Memo–February 5th, 2018 Council Work-study Session


Comments and Questions
Public Participation is encouraged through the moratorium and code development process.  Check or subscribe to this page for updates, draft documents, and meeting notices through Notify Me. You may also join the Planning Department’s Weekly Email Notice to receive timely updates by emailing Cindy Andrews or texting “GHPLANNING” to 22828


For more information on how the moratorium may impact your project, stop by the Planning Department at the Civic Center, call 253-851-6170, or email planning@cityofgigharbor.net.