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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.

Learn about Design Review. 

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:

Learn about street improvement permits. Consult these documents to understand the required SDOT Street Improvement Permitting (SIP) Process:

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

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will also 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. A project number will be assigned to you. After you have paid the fee, we will perform the inspection. Your preliminary application materials will be sent to other departments for their review and comment.

Read our pre-application report. You will receive a preliminary application report that will include critical information based on preliminary reviews by our site inspector, land use planner, and drainage reviewer. This report 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 your project and may include other relevant project or code issues.

Apply for a pre-submittal conference. Submit the following forms to the Applicant Services Center and pay fees in order to schedule your pre-submittal conference. At the pre-submittal conference we will go over the Design Review process, project issues and your questions.

We highly encourage you to upload your draft Early Design Guidance (EDG) packet along with your pre-submittal materials. This will allow staff to begin review of your packet and provide feedback at the pre-submittal conference, which will likely save review time after you submit your application. We also recommend that you use the SDR Packet Checklist Worksheet to document where you provided the information. Please provide a copy of this worksheet in your draft packet that you submit to your planner.

Once we have finalized the pre-submittal notes and the SDCI planner has approved and uploaded them to the project file, you may schedule your intake appointment for EDG application.

2. Streamlined Design Review Guidance

Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an intake appointment through your Seattle Services Portal. You must upload all application documents by 7:00 a.m. the day of your appointment. We may contact you for more information when we screen your appointment.

Submit streamlined early design guidance application. To submit your SDR application, upload the following documents to our website:

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

Drop of your paper copy. Drop off one paper copy of the draft SDR packet to the 19th floor basket.

Prepare for your EDG review. We will give you our comments and feedback on your draft SDR packet developed using the SDR Packet Checklist.

Wait for public notice and public comments. We will publish a public notice about your application in the public notice section of the Seattle Services Portal, post it at the project site, and mail it to people within 300 feet of your site.

Submit final EDG packet. Drop off one copy of your final SDR packet to the reception area on the 19th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower. In addition, upload the following to your portal:

  • Final 11” x 17" SDR packet (referred to as Design Review Proposal in the portal) developed using the SDR Packet Checklist. In the Description field in the portal write: “Final EDG.”
  • Digital Image of massing concepts (referred to as Design Review Proposal cover page in the portal), following these instructions for preparing and sending your packet.

Meet with planner prior to SDR report. Expect to meet with your assigned planner to review your packet, respond to staff comments, and/or discuss project-related issues. If you submitted your draft packet as part of the pre-submittal application, and have received staff comments and responded accordingly, it is likely to save review time.
 

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.

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