Each Seattle zoning designation specifies allowed uses. Some uses are permitted outright while others are subject to additional criteria and review. These uses may be allowed through an administrative conditional use or council conditional use approval.
Examples of administrative conditional uses include:
An example of a council conditional use is a public facility, such as a fire or police station, in a single-family zone.
We may consider the following when we review potential impacts of your proposed conditional use:
If your development exceeds size thresholds or is located within certain environmentally critical areas (ECAs) and their buffers, you may also need an environmental review (SEPA).
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 it takes us to complete our review of your proposal depends on several factors, including the:
Find your property information. Research your site to help you plan your project.
Determine restrictions to your project. Research the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) to determine standards that will apply to your proposal.
Find incentives for your project. Research the City's different incentives that might apply to your project.
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 one-hour sessions for $250.
Apply for a project number. Get a project number by starting your application online through your Project Portal. You will need to provide a site plan and a complete legal description for your site.
Complete your pre-application form. Submit your pre-application form through your Project Portal. Once we receive your pre-application form, and you have paid the fees, we will schedule a pre-application site visit. Pre-application site visits are required for most land use projects.
After our site visit, we will send your project information to other departments for their review and comment.
Review your pre-application report. You will receive a pre-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. 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.
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 plans and technical documents. Your plans should be to scale. You may need to upload technical documents including a survey, geotechnical and wetland reports, and other types of reports. Our Tips and code standards provide additional detail on the type of plans and reports we require to review your proposal.
Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an electronic intake appointment through your Project Portal.
Pay fees. You must pay a minimum fee for your review, any accrued land use hourly fees, and noticing fees at intake. 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. 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 plans. Once all of our reviews are done, we will contact 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 must pay any remaining fees before we publish our decision.
Read our decision. We will publish our decision on your project 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.
Submit an appeal. If you or a member of the public disagree with our decision, you may file an appeal with the Seattle Hearing Examiner within 14 days from when we publish our decision.
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.
You may apply for a construction permit at any time once you submit a land use application. However, 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.