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Land Use / Master Use Permit - Plat

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What Is It?

Platting is a process used to create or modify individual parcels of property. You need to submit a platting land use application for a:

  • Lot boundary adjustment - changes the location of an existing property line between two or more parcels of land.
  • Unit lot subdivision - divides land for the purpose of selling single-family houses, townhouses, and rowhouses, but does not create separate legal building sites. Unit lot subdivisions may be either a short or full subdivision, depending on the number of lots created.
  • Short subdivision - creates up to 9 parcels.
  • Full subdivision - creates 10 or more parcels.

We require electronic applications for all platting projects. You can use the Seattle DCI Project Portal to submit your electronic plans.

Your project may require State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review if you are subdividing property within or near the following environmentally critical areas:

  • Landslide-prone areas (including potential and known landslide areas)
  • Steep slopes
  • Wetlands
  • Fish and wildlife habitat

How Much Does it Cost?

We charge an hourly review fee based on our Fee Subtitle. You need to pay a minimum fee when you submit your land use application. After we accept your application, we will send you a monthly invoice for all review time completed in that billing cycle. If you do not pay your invoice, we will stop reviewing your project.

How Long Does It Take?

How long it takes us to review your project depends on how complex it is. The time it takes us to review your project depends on:

  • Complexity of your proposal
  • Whether environmental review is required
  • The quality of your plans and project documentation
  • Timely response to correction letters and requests for further information
  • Public interest

Steps to Get Your Permit


1. Research

Find your property information. Research your site to help you plan your project.

Determine other requirements for your project. Research the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) to determine standards that will apply to your proposal.

Attend a coaching session. We offer 20 minutes of free coaching in the Applicant Services Center to answer drainage, land use, geotechnical, or construction permit questions. If you need a longer coaching session, we offer paid one-hour sessions.

2. Start Permit Application

Apply for a project number. Get a project number by starting your preliminary application online through your Project Portal. You will need to upload a site plan and a complete legal description for your site. You'll receive an email once we have added the pre-application site visit (PASV) fees to your project. (Most projects require a PASV.) After you have paid the fee, we will preform the inspection. Your preliminary application materials will be sent to other departments for their review and comment as part of this process.

You should apply for a building permit or master use permit for constructing residential units before applying for a unit lot subdivision.

Review your preliminary application report. You will receive a preliminary application report that will include critical information about whether you need Design Review, SEPA, or street improvements. Our report will include information from the utilities about your specific site and proposal. We recommend you work with City Light early in your project to determine what electrical service requirements will be after your plat is complete. Our report will also identify potential project stoppers.

Request a pre-submittal conference. We recommend pre-submittal conferences for very complex projects, including work in environmentally critical areas or shorelines. One-hour pre-submittal conference fees vary based on the type of conference you need and the number of Seattle DCI staff attending.

Apply for exemptions. You may be eligible for exemptions from code or permitting requirements if your project is located in an environmentally critical area or near the shoreline.You need to apply for and resolve any exemption requests during the preliminary application process.

Coordinate with other agencies. You may need permits or approvals from other agencies. These are the most common agencies you may need to work with for your permit type:

Prepare your survey and supporting documents. You may need to upload technical documents including geotechnical and wetland reports, zoning analysis of existing and proposed structures, 75/80 lot area calculations, and other types of reports. Our Tips and code standards provide additional detail on the type of documents we require to review your proposal.

Be sure to follow the plan and survey requirements and processes outlined in Tip 213A, Application Requirements for Short Subdivisions, and Tip 213B, Application Requirements for Lot Boundary Adjustments.

3. Submit Application

Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an electronic intake appointment through your Project Portal. You must upload all application documents well in advance of your appointment. We usually contact you for more information during your appointment time.

Pay fees. You must pay a minimum fee for your review, any accrued land use hourly fees, and noticing fees at intake. You will receive an email once we have added fees to your project. You must pay your fees before any public notice or reviews can occur. We will invoice you monthly for additional fees during the review process. We will stop reviewing your project if you do not pay your monthly invoice.

Wait for public notice. We will issue a public notice for your project as required by SMC 23.76.012. If required, you are responsible for building and installing a large environmental public notice sign. (This sign must remain in place until the end of the appeal period or the Hearing Examiner decision, if applicable.) Once you've installed the sign, let us know and we'll begin our public notice process.

We'll consider all public comments we receive during the 2 - 4 week public comment period.

Make corrections and resubmit your documents. Once all of our reviews are done, you will receive an email telling you that corrected and/or additional documents can be uploaded into your portal. Your project may require multiple correction rounds before our reviews are complete.

Pay outstanding fees. Once our review is complete, you will get an email for any outstanding fees. You must pay these fees before we publish our decision.

Read our decision or recommendation. We will publish our decision on your short plat in our Land Use Information Bulletin. We will also send a notice of our decision to you and everybody that submitted a public comment on your project. Our decision will include any required conditions of approval, some that you must meet before we issue your permit.

Lot boundary adjustments do not require public notice. You will receive notice of our decision and next steps through your Project Portal.

Submit an appeal. If you or a member of the public disagree with our decision, you or they may file an appeal with the Seattle Hearing Examiner within 14 days from when we publish our decision. You may not appeal our decision for lot boundary adjustment to the Hearing Examiner.

Attend the public hearing. The Seattle Hearing Examiner will hold a public hearing for our recommendation on your short plat or full subdivision, along with any appeals on your project. The Hearing Examiner will also issue a decision.

Get a final review and record your final plat. You need to prepare your final plat to be recorded at King County Recorders Office. When you prepare your documents for recording, check with the King County Recorders’ office to ensure the final platting documents meet the King County formatting requirements. Consult Tip 213A, Application Requirements for Short Subdivisions, and Tip 213B, Application Requirements for Lot Boundary Adjustments, to ensure your final platting documents meet the final plat requirements. 

SDCI performs a final review of the survey submitted for recording at King County. Your survey should include all corrections made to date.

Seattle Department of Transportation has to approve your final plat for full subdivisions.

4. Get Permit

Pay final fees. We will notify you if you need to pay any final fees before we issue your permit.

Print your permit. We will notify you when we have issued your permit and the documents are available in our electronic document library.

5. Apply for Construction Permit

You may apply for a construction permit at any time once you submit a land use application. The development sites shown on your permit application need to reflect the new sites as shown on the platting action. The project can change and evolve through the land use application review process. Corrections required by our decision may require building plan changes that can result in costly design changes.

What Do You Want To Do?

Still Need Help?

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  • Schedule a coaching session: (206) 684-8850