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Land Use / Master Use Permit

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What Is It?

A master use permit (MUP) is a land use application. MUP and land use application are terms used to describe a review process that typically includes discretionary review. Discretionary review is review of specific criteria defined in the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC). Usually the criteria assess impacts of a proposed use or development project. This review includes:

Master Use Permit projects are:

We have 5 different types of MUPs, each with its own process.

  • Type I MUP. Projects, such as a 4-week temporary use, that do not need public notice. We make the MUP decision which is not appealable.
  • Type II MUP. These projects require public notice of your application. We make the MUP decision which can appealed to the City’s Hearing Examiner
  • Type III MUP. Our only type III MUP is a subdivision. The MUP decision is made by the City Hearing Examiner following our recommendation, public notice, and a public hearing.
  • Type IV MUP. These MUPs apply to large projects, such as rezones. City Council makes the MUP decision after our recommendation, a public hearing, and a recommendation by the City Hearing Examiner.
  • Type V MUP. Applications with implications for large sections of Seattle, like a Land Use Code amendment or an area-wide rezone, are Type V MUPs. City Council makes the MUP decision after our recommendation and a public hearing
  • Procedure for Master Use Permits and Council Land Use Decisions, SMC 23.76
  • Environmental Policies and Procedures, SMC 25.05

How Much Does It Cost?

Our hourly review fee is listed in the Land Use Application Fee Requirements, below. You will provide a deposit 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.

Steps to Get Your Permit

The steps to get your master use permit depend on the type of MUP you are applying for. In general, you need to follow these steps:

1. Research
Find your property information, such as zoning, permit history, and environmentally critical areas information. Read our codes to determine which standards will apply to your proposal. If you still have questions, you can attend a coaching session to get information about drainage, land use, geotechnical, or construction permits.

2. Start Preliminary Application

Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to answer questions about your proposal and upload a site plan. 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 perform the site visit. Your preliminary application information will be reviewed by other departments for comment.

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. Our report will also identify potential project stoppers.

Attend a pre-submittal conference. We require pre-submittal conferences for all proposed rezone applications. At a pre-submittal conference you will discuss our rezone requirements and our application process. You must pay a minimum two hour presubmittal conference fee before we schedule your appointment. We might charge additional hourly fees based on the number of City staff attending the conference, and the amount of follow-up time required.

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 before you submit your permit application. Submit your exemption requests using the Seattle Services Portal.

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. 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.

See your specific land use permit type for specific application instructions.

3. Submit Application and Plans

Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an intake appointment using the Seattle Services Portal.

Public Notice
Public involvement is a primary element of the land use application process and review. All decision types, except Type I, require public notice at specific points in the process. During the MUP review, we accept public comment on the project.

Review, Decision, and Appeal
Our review, decision, and appeal processes vary depending on the type of MUP you are applying for. Your plan reviewer can explain the process and what to expect when you submit your permit application.

MUPs and Building Permits
If your project involves a related building permit, we must issue the land use permit before we can issue the building permit. You can apply for a building permit at any point once your land use application is submitted. However, your project can change and evolve during the land use application review process. This can require building plan changes, which may cost you additional design fees.

What Do You Want To Do?


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