Street Use Permits
Customer Service Improvements Launch Feb. 10, 2014
Customers applying for permits will experience the first phase of Street Use & Urban Forestry customer service improvements on Monday, February 10. These improvements include updated permit application forms and the addition of permit counter staff to provide intake assistance and permit coaching.
The updated permit forms will be color-coded and simplified; they’ll be available both online (to fill out and print at your home or office) and at the permit counter. The added counter staff will offer one-on-one guidance at the intake counter, helping customers prepare successful applications and sign in to the appropriate work group. In some instances, same-day permit service may not be possible, but customers will be aligned more and more with one reviewer throughout the life of their project.
The goal of these changes is to reduce wait times while better preparing applicants with active coaching and refined tools. Well-prepared customers can expect faster service, and coaching will help new or infrequent customers better prepare as well.
Later this year, applicants beginning complex development projects can make appointments with a permit reviewer, rather than stand in line, expediting both counter and online service; online permitting will be streamlined; and the customer service area in the Seattle Municipal Tower will be reconfigured to improve flow - construction is anticipated this summer.
Contact Street Use & Urban Forestry to learn more:
206-684-5253 | SDOTPermits@seattle.gov
Street Use & Urban Forestry offers more than 60 types of permits for use, occupation and/or construction in the right of way. We issue permits for temporary uses of the right of way (such as crossing the sidewalk with heavy equipment during construction or hosting a block party) and for longer-term private uses of the right of way (such as planting trees or posting signs). Refer to our related Client Assistance Memos for more information.
Need to apply for a permit? Visit the Street Use & Urban Forestry permit counter in person, or use our online permitting system.
The Street Use & Urban Forestry Applicant Services Permit Counter is located on the 23rd floor of Seattle Municipal Tower, 700
5th Avenue, in downtown Seattle. The counter is open:
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- We are no longer able to accept payments after 4:45 p.m.
- Applicants arriving after 4:30 p.m. may not receive a permit that day.
Permits fall into four main categories. Examples of our most common permit types within each category are below:
- Construction Use and Simple Utility
Public Space Management
Urban Forestry Permits
- Simple Utilities
- Impacting Streets/Sidewalks for Construction Purposes
- Sidewalk Repairs
A street use general application is required with project-specific applications above.
CONSTRUCTION USE AND SIMPLE UTILITY
Simple Utility Permits
Simple utility permits are issued for the installation of underground and overhead utility mains and services in the public right of way. They include power, communication, gas, steam, water, sewer, drainage, and privately owned facilities such as oil pipelines. Also included are permits issued to other governmental entities such as the Port of Seattle, King County and the State of Washington.
Impacting Streets/Sidewalks for Construction Purposes
Many circumstances require use of the right of way for construction on both public and private property. Street use permits are issued for temporary use of the right of way during construction for activities such as material storage, scaffolding, crane placement, or crossing the curb and sidewalk with heavy equipment.
A temporary driveway is an asphalt driveway installed where there is no curb constructed. It requires a permit issued by Street Use, permits issued by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), and a field review by an inspector for approval. Property owners are responsible for providing a temporary or permanent driveway so that vehicles do not drive over sidewalks, planting strips or curbs.
Property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks adjacent to their property. This includes ensuring that snow, ice and debris do not pose a hazard to pedestrians - it also means that property owners must repair cracks and other sidewalk damage. If your sidewalk is in need of repair, apply for a construction use permit to complete the work.
Shoring and Excavation
Shoring permits are issued for work that supports the earth in a trench or vertical cut for construction or other activity. Excavation permits are issued for excavations in or near the right of way that could, by the nature of the excavation, negatively impact the right of way or utilities in the right of way. In cases where the right of way will be affected by shoring or excavation, Street Use performs shoring review in partnership with DPD.
Street Improvements and Plan Review
Street improvement permits include the installation of major improvements such as street paving, curbs, and sidewalks in conjunction with development on private property. Included in the permit are utilities that are necessary to serve the private development. This type of permit can also be issued for larger community projects, such as a block-long rain garden or a curb bulb.
The Street Use Street Improvement Permits (SIP) group can assist you in interpreting and applying DPD Land Use Code requirements for improvements in the right of way during design and construction. SIP provides project management and facilitates approval for private projects ranging from single family residences to large-scale mixed use developments and major interdepartmental projects for SDOT.
Major Utility Permits
Major utility permits are issued for the installation of underground and overhead utility mains and services in the public right-of-way. They are distinguished from simple utility permits by their greater length and/or by scope elements that require enhanced technical review. Generally, this utility work is greater than 100 feet in length, disturbs existing curb lines or crosswalk areas, or involves directional drilling. Please refer to Client Assistance Memo #2600 for more information.
PUBLIC SPACE MANAGEMENT
Public Space Permits
The Public Space Management group promotes and regulates a vibrant, safe, accessible, and attractive shared right of way. Public space management permits include uses of the right of way by the general public and by businesses and include both temporary and longer-term uses of the right of way, ranging from a one-night block party to a fence. Public Space Management permits for longer-term uses (such as sidewalk cafes or retaining walls) require renewal once a year and include an annual fee; these were formerly known as “annual” permits.
Note: If your proposed project includes construction of a permanent structure in the public right of way for your own personal use or for the private use of your business, you will be required to sign an acknowledgement confirming that you understand that your permit application may not be approved.
Vending permits are issued for food trucks that operate from a parked location to mobile vehicles that sell flowers or food on the go (ice-cream trucks, for example). Vending also includes vending at stadiums for sporting or large-scale events; vending from plazas or sidewalks (such as hot dog stands); temporary vending or curb space activity, such as vending at a farmers’ market; and First Amendment vending.
Urban Forestry Permits
Urban forestry permits are issued for tree planting, tree pruning, tree removal and tree replacement in the public right of way. Permit requirements are based on specific site conditions and individual tree species. SDOT arborists review applications to ensure the health, preservation and expansion of Seattle’s urban forest. For more information, visit SDOT Urban Forestry online or call 206-684-TREE (8733).
Contact Street Use & Urban Forestry at:
206-684-5253 | SDOTPermits@seattle.gov