HIP Tool: Short Plats

Short subdivisions are defined as plats with up to four lots, but any city or town can increase the maximum number of lots to nine. Counties planning under the Growth Management Act may also do the same within the urban growth area (RCW 58.17.020 (6)). Increasing the number of lots allowed in a short plat can help to streamline the permit process.


Because council and public involvement are not required for short plat approval, increasing the maximum number of lots can simplify the plat approval process for relatively lower impact development, and result in cost savings for developers that can be passed to future home buyers. State law still requires administrative approval for short plats, but individual jurisdictions may tailor their ordinances to meet local needs. Jurisdictions should consider the impact of raising the maximum number of lots on vested development and the lack of required public and council review.

Expanding your short plat ordinance and coupling it with other development regulations like cottage housing, small lot development, flexible development regulations or zero lot line development can further facilitate the construction of diverse and dense single family homes in your community.

Tool Profile

Focus Areas

  • Expensive Housing Markets
  • Innovative Single Family Techniques

Project Types

  • Single Family
  • Ownership
  • Market Rate

Affordability Level

  • 80 to 120% AMI
  • Less than 80% AMI

Housing Goal

  • Diversity