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Start, Grow, or Green Your Business Stephen H. Johnson, Director
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Letter from the Mayor
How to Use This Guide
Abbreviations Used in This Guide
Hints for Successful Business District Improvements
Beautification Projects
Flower Planters
Holiday Lighting
Metro Bus Shelters
Public Art
Street Trees
Clean and Green Seattle Initiative
Enhancement Projects
Street Furniture
Pedestrian Lighting
Bicycle Racks
Newspaper Boxes
Only in Seattle Initiative grants
Forming a Business Improvement Area
City of Seattle Grants and Funding
Litter Cans
Sidewalk Cleaning
Spring Clean
Street Cleaning
Street Paving
Building/Fire Code Violations
Managing Parking
Public Safety
Street Light & Power Line Repair
Alley & Security Lighting
Crime Prevention
Emergency Preparedness
District Identification Signs
Traffic Controls
Use of Public Areas
City Parks
Sidewalk Cafes
Street Vendors
Additional Information

Create a Thriving Business District


The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is responsible for inspecting privately owned buildings and property for compliance with existing building and property maintenance codes. DPD also works with other departments, such as the Seattle Police and Fire Departments, to solve problems with fire hazards and criminal use of private buildings.

If there is a building or property site in your area that is a considerable “eyesore,” there is a good chance it is in violation of the Housing & Building Maintenance or Land Use Code. You can call the Complaint Hotline at 206-684-7899 to report suspected violations. If you wish to remain anonymous you may do so; you can obtain a case number and the name of the inspector assigned to the case after a few days by calling back or checking online. Once a complaint is made, its status is available online at:

Weeds, substandard housing, accumulation of junk outdoors and vacant buildings are all possible issues that you can report to DPD.

Frequently asked questions:

What can we do about a vacant building in our district without secured windows and doors?

Call DPD Complaint Hotline at 206-684-7899 to report vacant residential buildings. DPD will contact the owner and require that they secure windows and doors and encourage the owner to post No Trespassing signs. DPD keeps a list of vacant buildings with recently corrected violations and inspects them quarterly for three consecutive quarters to insure that they meet standards for vacant buildings, including securing them against entry and weather.

The Fire Department Inspectors will investigate inquiries usually within four days of receipt or immediately if a life-endangering situation exists. For non-residential buildings call the Fire Marshal at 206-386-1450. Non-residential vacant buildings are not routinely inspected on a quarterly basis by DPD.

When are trees and vegetation illegal?

If trees and vegetation overgrow into the street, alley or create a traffic hazard, then they may be a “public nuisance. ” Call the DPD Complaint Hotline at 206-684-7899 to report.




  • Department of Planning and Development
    Complaint Hotline for DPD, weeds, zoning & building and other codes------206-684-7899
    DPD Complaint Service Center website:
  • Seattle Police Department
    Non-emergency complaints and questions-------------------------- 206-625-5011
    Emergencies---------------------------------------------------------- Call 911
    General Police Department website: