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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:

Common Master Use Permit projects are:

We have 5 different types of MUPs, each with it’s 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 review fee is $250 per hour. 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:

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.

Permit Application
Submit a preliminary application to get a project number and start the application process. You will need to request a pre-application site visit to discuss your site conditions. We also recommend that you attend a pre-submittal conference if you have a complex project, or if you are working in an environmentally critical area or near a shoreline. You may also want to apply for an exemption from certain environmental or shoreline code standards if you think your project would be eligible.

Once you have your plans and technical supporting documents ready to submit, contact the Applicant Services Center to schedule an intake appointment.

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 notice period, we accept public comment on the project.

Review, Decision, and Appeal
Our review, decision, and appeal process varies depending on the type of MUP you are applying for. Your plan reviewer will 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.

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