Sometimes, a zoning permit needs to be acquired after the project has already been executed. Usually what this means is that whoever engaged in the project avoided acquiring the necessary permits, or the person simply did not know that they needed a permit. This inevitably leads to the city discovering the lack of a permit, and therefore a violation is issued.
Some violations can be rectified simply by applying for the necessary permit and acquiring it over the counter or “by-right”. However, some zoning permits fall outside of the scope of the zoning code, and you will need to acquire special approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to receive the permit and to clear the pending violation.
When you are applying for a permit that is in response to a violation, AND the project falls outside of the zoning code, a “referral” is issued. A “referral” and a “refusal” are in essence the same exact thing, but a “referral” means that the application is in response to a violation (see our explanation of zoning permits, which tells you about what a refusal is.)
We understand how frustrating this can be, but it’s not the end of the world…or your project. Don’t let the headaches and citations pile up, come to us so we can get it resolved quickly and painlessly! (Not to mention, if you received a certain number of violations you will eventually be sued in court by the City.)
If L&I issues you a zoning code violation for your project, we can help you figure out how to get in compliance with the code concerning whatever the issue may be.