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Chapter 2
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Procedures, Permitting Process and Approvals for Right-of-Way Improvements
2.10 Other Street Right-of-Way Improvement Activities

Other City Departments also regulate or provide guidance on a number of other activities that impact the public rights-of-way. This section defines the existing process for other improvement-related activities.

2.10.1 Seattle Parks and Recreation Dept Reviews and Approvals
2.10.2 Non park Uses for Parks and Recreation Department Lands
2.10.3 Revocable Use Permits
2.10.4 Design Intent for Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Boulevard and Trails
2.10.5 Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Tree Policy and Permits
2.10.6 Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Standards


2.10.7 Department of Planning and Development Tree Policy and Permits
2.10.8 Street and Alley Vacation Process
2.10.9 Dedication of Street Rights-Of-Way or Easement
2.10.10 Shoreline Street Ends and Unimproved ROW
2.10.11 Coordination Activities
2.10.12 Landmark’s Certificate of Approval

2.10.1 Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Reviews and Approvals

Some streets have been designated as park drives or boulevards and are under the jurisdiction of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (SPR) as part of the City’s extensive parks system. These streets may or may not have the term “boulevard” in their name. A complete listing of streets under the jurisdiction of SPR is available as Appendix I to Title 15 of Seattle Municipal Code (SMC),

Through an agreement between SPR and SDOT, SDOT is responsible for issuing permits for street uses affecting the paved street surface of park boulevards.  Any disturbance to unpaved areas of park boulevards is subject to SPR review and approval.  For more information go to SPR web page concerning SPR Revocable Use Permits

The following information describes the typical permits and approvals relevant to permitting work on SPR land.

2.10.2 Non-Park Uses of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Lands

Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (SPR), as steward of public park lands, is responsible for preserving and protecting Seattle's park system. In order to preserve the public character of park lands and assure their availability for public use and enjoyment, it is the policy of SPR to eliminate and prevent unauthorized non-park uses on SPR lands. Further, it is the policy of SPR to limit authorized non-park uses to the fullest extent practicable. Any project proposed for SPR lands must obtain permission of SPR; usually in the form of a Revocable Use Permit (refer to prior section). Get more information in the complete policy.

2.10.3 Revocable Use Permits

Any work on park boulevards, or that may affect other park property, must be reviewed by SPR. A Revocable Use Permit, issued by the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, may be necessary. Refer to the SPR website and follow the links to Permits for Non-Park Use of Park Property or contact the Property Management Unit.

2.10.4 Design Intent for Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Boulevards and Trails

Refer to the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (SPR) website for basic information that project applicants must consider when developing landscape plans affecting boulevards or other streets and roadways under SPR jurisdiction.


2.10.5 Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Tree Policy and Permits

The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (SPR) Tree Policy was developed to maintain, preserve and enhance the urban forest within parks; to increase the overall tree canopy, tree health and tree longevity within parks including boulevards; and to ensure that parks trees are managed in a manner that is consistent with other departmental and municipal policies. Private work on trees on SPR property must be approved through issuance of a Tree Permit. Get a copy of the permit and the complete policy.


2.10.6 Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Standards

The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (SPR) Standards are intended to facilitate design and construction of SPR facilities through standard requirements on SPR property. The Standards are based upon past experiences and practices that have proved successful during design, construction, operation, and maintenance of SPR facilities. In certain situations, Consultant deviations may be acceptable provided they are approved by the Park Engineer and/or Construction Manager prior to implementation. The deviation process described in Chapter 2.11 Deviation Request Process for Street Right-of-Way Improvements does not apply to, or replace, the SPR deviation request process for projects on SPR lands. Refer to the SPR standards homepage, including SPR CAD and Survey standards.


2.10.7 Department of Planning and Development Tree Protection Regulations

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) enforces regulations regarding tree and vegetation protection and removal on private property and in the street right-of-way. To determine the regulations that apply to a specific site, reference DPD Client Assistance Memo (CAM) #242: Tree Protection Regulations in Seattle if the site is not in an Environmentally Critical Area or DPD CAM #331: Environmentally Critical Areas: Tree and Vegetation Overview.


2.10.8 Street and Alley Vacation Process

A street vacation is the process by which an abutting property owner can petition the City to acquire the adjacent street right-of-way.

Street and Alley Vacations are reviewed by SDOT, the Seattle Design Commission and City Council who makes the final decision on whether or not to grant the vacation. The City has established policies and procedures to guide the decision. It is important to contact the street vacation staff early in your development planning. Street vacation staff can explain the process, costs and time frame associated with the review of a vacation. Staff will also make every effort to assess whether a vacation appears to be feasible in your particular circumstance. Tunnels and aerial use of the street right-of-way may also require vacations.

Use this link for more information about street vacations.


2.10.9 Dedication of Street ROW or Easement

Developers and contractors are sometimes required by DPD to dedicate property for transportation purposes in order to receive a Construction Permit.  When this occurs, DPD notifies SDOT Real Property Services that a dedication of private property is required.  SDOT works directly with the developers to ensure they comply with the permitting requirements.  For more details, refer to SDOT CAM 2203 for more information and procedures on dedications of street right of way or easements.


2.10.10 Shoreline Street Ends and Unimproved Rights-of-Way

Shoreline Street Ends are those platted streets that run into water and provide access and/or views of Lake Washington, Lake Union or Puget Sound. The City has 149 shoreline street ends. Many are already open to the public. SDOT Director's Rule 00-1, the City's guidelines on the Shoreline Street Ends Program, includes improving a shoreline street end for public access.

City Resolution 29370, adopted in September 1996, identified shoreline street ends as a scarce and valuable public resource which should be open for the enjoyment and benefit of the public. This policy was adopted after much public discussion and careful consideration. Ordinance 119673 was adopted in October 1999 to establish a new type of permit and a new fee schedule for permitting private uses of the shoreline street ends. Although the ultimate goal is to remove private uses of these street ends, the permit process acknowledges some private uses will continue.

Refer to Chapter 2.12.3 State and Federal Permits and Approvals for information on additional permits that may be required for work on street ends including Army Corps of Engineer Permits Section 10: Hydraulic Permit Approval (HPA) and Section 401: Discharge of Dredge and Fill. Refer to DPD CAM 209 and  Shoreline Substantial Development Permits, as the project may also require a Shoreline Permit.


2.10.11 Coordination Activities

Construction and maintenance activities in the street right-of-way typically require coordination with many agencies and on occasion coordination with other nearby construction activities, including federal, state and other local authorities. Coordination with some agencies will require the project applicant to provide advance notification so that any necessary reviews and approvals are in place prior to City permits being issued.

The City of Seattle Right of Way Management initiative has produced an online map where the user can ask for a log in to view the Street Use and DPD permitted activity in the area of their work site. This will improve the coordination of street and utility work in the street right-of-way. The Planning, Analysis, Coordination Tool (PACT) database and its accompanying map tools were developed to augment these coordination efforts. The PACT system tracks projects and coordination efforts. Information on project locations, coordination groups and moratoriums is available and updated twice yearly in April and July.  The information on this interactive map from the SDOT Street Use Division is updated monthly.

In general, there is a three-year moratorium on opening new pavement.  It shall not be permitted within the three-year period following its installation, except in the following circumstances:  emergency repairs that could not have been anticipated or that are necessary for the protection of the public's health and safety; new or revised service connections that have been requested by a utility customer; work for which SDOT’s denial of a permit would violate federal law; or with prior approval of the SDOT Director.


2.10.12 Landmarks Certificate of Approval

In Seattle, a Certificate of Approval is required for any project that will alter the appearance (including demolition) of a protected feature of a designated landmark or a property located in an historic or special review district. This process requires submittal of an application to the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) Office of Urban Conservation and review by the Seattle Landmarks Board or the review board for the landmark district.

If your project may affect a landmark or is in one of the following districts, you will need to talk with staff at the Department of Neighborhoods. Review of these applications varies from district to district, depending upon the special characteristics of each area. For site-specific information, refer to the following SMC sections and ordinance.

  • International District—SMC 23.66.318
  • Pioneer Square Preservation District—SMC 23.66.115
  • Pike Place Market Historical District—SMC 25.24.060
  • Columbia City Landmark District—SMC 25.20.070
  • Ballard Avenue Landmark District—SMC 25.16.065
  • Harvard-Belmont Landmark District—SMC 25.12.090
  • Fort Lawton Landmark District—Ordinance 114011

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Policies regarding preservation of landmarks are found in SMC 25.05.675.

NOTE: If your building appears to meet the criteria for landmark designation, but is not currently designated as a landmark, the structure may be referred to the Landmarks Preservation Board for consideration (per SMC 25.05.675H2c).
continue to section 2.11»   
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Detailed Table of Contents
Chapter 2
Procedures, Permitting Process and Approvals for Right-of-Way Improvements
2.1 Navigating the City of Seattle Permit Process
2.2 Street Right-of-Way Permits
2.3 Street Improvement Permits Group 3 permits
2.4 Other Street Use Construction Permits Groups 1 and 2
2.5 Right-of-Way Use Permits
2.6 Shoring and Excavation Permits
2.7 Utility Permits
2.8 Non-Construction Permits
2.9 Street Trees and Landscaping Permits
2.10 Other Street Right-of-Way Improvement Activities
2.11 Deviation Request Process for Street Right-of-Way Improvements
2.12 Environmental Review and Approvals
2.13 King County Permits and Approvals
2.14 State and Federal Permits and Approvals
2.15 Contact Information
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