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International Special Review District
International District FAQs

1. What is the International Special Review District Board?

The Board consists of seven members, five that are elected by the community in annual elections and two that are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council. Two of the five elected Board members own property or a business in the District or who are employed in the District, two of the elected members reside in the District or have demonstrated an interest in the District, and one member is elected at large. The Board reviews applications for Certificates of Approval for any change to the use, exterior appearance of buildings or structures, streets, sidewalks, and other public spaces in the District.

2. What Must Be Reviewed and Approved By the Board?

The following changes require a Certificate of Approval to be issued by the Board and the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods before the City will issue any permits:

  • Any change to the outside of any building or structure
  • Installation of any new sign or changes to existing sign
  • Installation of a new awning or canopy
  • Any change to an interior that affects the exterior
  • New addition, construction and/or remodel
  • A proposed new business or service (change of use)
  • Any change in the public right-of-way or other public spaces, including parks and sidewalks
  • Demolition of any building or structure
  • Exterior painting

3. When are the Board Meetings?

Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m. at the Bush Asia Hotel, 409 Maynard Avenue South. All Board meetings are open to the public.

4. What is a Certificate of Approval?

A Certificate of Approval is an official notice of approval issued by the International Special Review District Board. To get your project reviewed and approved, a completed Application for Certificate Approval needs to be submitted to the Landmark District Coordinator.

A Certificate of Approval is not a permit. An applicant is still responsible for obtaining relevant permits after receiving approval from the Review Committee and Board. City Departments such as Seattle Transportation and Department of Planning and Development issue permits after an applicant has received a Certificate of Approval.

5. What is the Approval Process?

Step 1: Submit a completed application and the appropriate fee to the Historic Preservation Program. Click here for our address.

Step 2: The Board Coordinator will review the application and plans for completeness and compliance with the regulations.

Step 3: After your application is determined to be complete, it will be placed on the agenda for the next public meeting of the Board.

Step 4: The Board will recommend to the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods whether to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application.

Step 5: The Director of the Department of Neighborhoods makes the final decision whether to approve, approve with conditions or deny your application.

Step 6: Either a Certificate of Approval or a Letter of Denial will be issued.

Step 7: You or any interested party of record may appeal a decision to the City Hearing Examiner within 14 days of the issuance of the Certificate of Approval or Letter of Denial.

6. How Do I Schedule for Board Review?

If you are considering starting a new business or service, changing the location of your business (within the District) or making physical changes to the outside of your property or business, please contact the International Special Review District Board Coordinator, (206) 684-0226, for assistance in reviewing your plans and in scheduling for Board consideration.

Historic Districts

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