Streamlining the regulatory process.

The Department of Commerce partners with local jurisdictions, state regulatory agencies and the business community to create Regulatory Roadmaps, online navigational guides that help improve the business regulatory experience. Businesses benefit from a single source of comprehensive information about requirements at the state and local levels, leading to a more predictable and efficient regulatory process. Businesses have been asking for this type of multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency, “from-the-perspective-of-the-business-owner” approach for a number of years.

Regulatory Roadmaps

The Regulatory Roadmap online business planning tools distill all local, regional and state requirements into easy-to-understand sequential worksheets and checklists for opening a restaurant, gauging manufacturing site feasibility and contracting.

The Regulatory Roadmap approach is based on four key principles:

  • Information and streamlining efforts should be based on looking through the lens of the businesses that are regulated.
  • Information should be presented based on what a business is trying to accomplish, and not based on individual permits, licenses or other requirements.
  • Regulatory requirements should be communicated as completely and as transparently as possible.
  • Because businesses deal with more than one agency, information from all the relevant state and local agencies should be integrated.


Screen capture of the roadmap for Restaurants.The initial Regulatory Roadmaps were focused on helping restaurants navigate the regulatory process. Guided by businesses’ vision of what would provide the most value, Commerce worked with the Seattle restaurant community, the city of Seattle, King County and several state agencies to develop a web-based roadmap, which launched in Seattle in 2013. The one-stop sites include easy-to-understand sequential worksheets and checklists for opening a restaurant. Restaurant Roadmaps have also been launched in Spokane and Spokane Valley.


Screen capture of the Regulatory Roadmap for ManufacturingBuilding on the success of the restaurant Regulatory Roadmap sites, Commerce initiated Regulatory Roadmaps for Manufacturing, working with the cities of Arlington, Marysville and Lynnwood to create web-based materials to assist manufacturers in site selection. Information gleaned from surveys, group discussions and interviews with manufacturers on their regulatory experiences were compiled and used to prioritize streamlining opportunities. In 2019, Commerce started work on an online portal for manufacturers interested in site feasibility, working with the city of Sumner and Pierce County officials. The new online version of the portal, which allows manufacturers to search by selected criteria and compare sites, was launched in January 2020. The city of Tacoma has also joined in this effort to create an interactive site for regulatory and permitting requirements.

Going Forward

Work is underway to create additional Roadmaps for other sectors as well as expand the new portal to include other jurisdictions and industries. This body of work depends on finding additional funding, since the process is fairly complex, given the variations in zoning, permitting and regulatory requirements of different cities, counties and industries.

More Information

Top 25 Award BadgeThe Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized Commerce’s Regulatory Roadmap initiative as a Top 25 Program in the 2017 Innovations in American Government Awards competition. Read more

Restaurant Roadmaps

Commerce is helping cities across the state present local and state regulatory information in ways businesses can understand and use.
Seattle – Restaurant Success website
Tacoma – Restaurant Location Selection Worksheet (PDF) and Restaurants and Food Service Tip Sheet (PDF)
Spokane – Get Started website
Spokane Valley – Restaurant website

Contractor Roadmaps

City of Kennewick Construction Contractors Roadmap

Manufacturing Roadmaps

City of Arlington Regulatory Roadmap-Manufacturing
City of Marysville Regulatory Roadmap-Manufacturing

City of Sumner & Pierce County Online Portal

Contact Us

Robb Zerr, Managing Director
Rural, Small Business & Marketing Services
Phone: 206-256-6111