Open Space

Open Space Public Benefit Rating System Tax Program

As authorized by RCW 84.34 the Pierce County Code 2.114, Ordinance 98-114s, adopted a Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS), for applicants, which ranks various open space features, listed below, and is composed of high, medium and low priority resources, bonus categories and a super bonus category. A minimum of three priority resources points is necessary to qualify for the program and a maximum of 15 priority points is allowed. The number of PBRS points correlates to a percent of market value reduction during the period of continued eligibility.

Available Forms

Priority Resources

Point System
High priority critical salmon habitat, fish and wildlife habitat, marine waters, streams, wetlands, estuaries and tidal marshes, wooded areas, agricultural lands, prairie lands
5 points each
Medium priority aquifer recharge areas, flood hazard areas, lakes, private open space passive recreation, privately owned and operated recreational facilities, private trails and corridors archaeological sites, historic landmark sites 3 points each
Low priority landslide hazard areas (steep slopes), private parks and private golf courses with developed facilities, scenic view points and corridors, seismic hazard areas, volcanic hazard area
1 point each


Point System
Public Access Granted (Note: Some priority resource categories require public access)
5 points
Conservation / historic easement granted in perpetuity (Forever)
10 points
Site within a Designated Urban Growth Area (UGA) or the Comprehensive Urban Growth Area (CUGA)
5 points
Site is adjacent to or creates linkage with another open space parcel
5 points

Super Bonus

Point System
Properties with at least five priority resource points and which allow a degree of public access appropriate to the sensitivity of the resource(s) and which provide a qualifying conservation easement in perpetuity 25 points

Points & Percentages

Points 0-2 3 6 9 12 15 18 20 25+
% of Reduction of Market Value 0% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%

How to Apply

Applications are submitted to:
Pierce County Planning and Public Works Development Center
2401 S. 35th St.
Tacoma WA 98409

The non-refundable application fee of $1,200 must be submitted with the application. Cities may charge an additional fee. Contact your city to inquire. The fee for advertising the final public hearing will be billed and payable prior to recording the final contract. The fee varies, depending on length of legal, approximately $50. Any applicant requesting public access as a resource or if public access is a requirement can obtain signage requirements at the Pierce County Land Services office. Please be aware that land is subject to a back-tax liability if the use changes after being declared Open Space.

Applications submitted in any given year from January 1 through December 31 are approved or denied for the following assessment year, with tax reduction applied the year after approval.

Additional Information

Applications are available online or by contacting the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer at (253) 798-7137.