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Design Review - Streamlined

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What Is It?

Streamlined Design Review is required for most townhouse development projects. We will review your proposal and consider written public comments received during the comment period. You may request “adjustments” from the Land Use Code as part of your design proposal. Following the early design guidance (EDG) phase, your project may proceed directly to the building permit application.

Design Review considers multiple aspects of a building and site such as:

  • The overall appearance of the building
  • How the proposal relates to adjacent sites and the overall street frontage
  • How the proposal relates to unusual aspects of the site, like views or slopes
  • Pedestrian and vehicular access to the site
  • Quality of materials, open space, and landscaping

To find the design guidelines that apply to your project, go to our Design Review Guidelines page. There you can find the citywide (multifamily and commercial buildings), downtown, and neighborhood-specific design guidelines.

If your project does not qualify for Streamlined Design Review, it may qualify for Full Design Review or Administrative Design Review.

How Much Does It Cost?

Our review fee is $315 per hour. You need to pay up front for the first 10 hours of review when you submit your 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?

Our review process depends on several factors:

  • The quality of your plans and project documentation
  • Your response time to correction letters and requests for further information
  • Public interest

Steps to Get Your Permit


1. Pre-Submittal

Get your property information. Find property information to help you plan your project.

Find incentives for your project. Research the City's different incentives that might apply to your project.

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:

Apply for a pre-submittal conference. Before meeting with you we will provide you with the preliminary guidance checklist. We will discuss the checklist and other project questions at the pre-submittal conference. You need to bring these documents to the Applicant Services Center:

Read our pre-application report. We'll send you a pre-application report with preliminary reviews by our site inspector, land use planner, and drainage reviewer. We will also include preliminary reviews by the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle City Light. Our report will highlight the required street or alley improvements for the project and may include other relevant project or code issues.

2. Streamlined Design Review Guidance

Submit streamlined design review guidance application. Following your pre-submittal conference, submit the following streamlined design review guidance (SDR) documents to the Application Services Center:

Pay fees. EDG fees are listed on the back of the Land Use Application Fee Requirements.

Review comments on your packet. We'll send you our comments and feedback on your draft SDR guidance packet developed using our SDR Packet Checklist after we have reviewed it.

Wait for public notice and comment. We'll publish a public notice on the Land Use Information Bulletin section of our website and at the project site and mail it to people within 300 feet of your site. We will start a 14-day public comment period on your project.

Submit final SDR guidance packet. Bring 3 copies of your final SDR guidance packet to us on the 22nd floor and upload your SDR guidance packet to our website. We'll send a report to you and other interested parties and post it on our website.

3. Apply for Construction Permit

Your SDR must be complete before you apply for a construction permit. If you have a related land use application, such as SEPA, and a Master Use Permit is required, you may apply for a construction permit at any time once you submit a land use application. However, the project design is likely to change and evolve though the streamlined design 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?

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