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The Deadline for Filing for Final Plat Approval – the Rule Keeps Changing!

June 19, 2012 by Bob Meinig
Category: Subdivisions and Planned Developments

With new legislation changing (again) the rule for how long after preliminary plat approval an applicant has to file for final plat approval, I thought it would be a good time to review that rule. 

As set out in RCW 58.17.140, a plat applicant has a certain period of time after receiving preliminary plat approval within which to file for final plat approval; preliminary plat approval expires if a final plat is not applied for within that time period.  The 2010 legislature (SSB 6544 (Laws of 2010, ch. 79)) changed the time period from five to seven years, but only for preliminary plats that are approved on or before December 31, 2014.  For preliminary plats approved on or after January 1, 2015, the time period for filing for final plat approval reverts back to five years.

The 2012 legislature has tweaked the rule again.  EHB 2152 (Laws of 2012, ch. 92) provides for a nine-year period for submitting a preliminary plat for final approval, but only for preliminary plats that were approved on or before December 31, 2007, that are within city limits, and that are not subject to the Shoreline Management Act (SMA).   This legislation became effective on June 7, 2012.

So, as the law now stands, most preliminary plat approvals expire in seven years from the date of approval.  But those that are not subject to the SMA and that were approved within cities prior to 2008  – and had not expired prior to June 7, 2012 – don’t expire until nine years after the date of approval.  Preliminary plats that are approved starting on January 1, 2015 have a five-year life span – that is, unless the legislature again changes the rule.

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About Bob Meinig

Bob has written extensively on the state Open Public Meetings Act and on municipal incorporation and annexation. At MRSC, he has also advised local governments for over 25 years on diverse legal issues.



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