Fences, Walls, & Stairs

What we do

We help facilitate installation of a proposed fences, walls, ramps, stairways, and other similar structures in the public right of way. As these installations require both a Construction Use permit and a Public Space permit, we work closely with our Permit Services team to coordinate the permitting process. Once your Construction Use permit is approved, we:

  • Review annually renewable permits for structures located fully or partially in the public right of way
  • Ensure that mobility and access are maintained for the traveling public

Program Goals

We seek to:

  • Minimize structures in the public right of way in areas where public use is anticipated
  • Facilitate access to private property
  • Encourage the least impactful installation

Apply for a permit

All fences, walls, and stairways located fully or partially in the right of way require both a Public Space Management Permit and a Construction Use in the Right of Way Permit. Your Construction Use permit must be approved before we can review your plans. Once approved, your Public Space permit will be processed.

You will also need to submit the following materials with your construction use permit application:

  • A site plan (11”x17” paper size is preferred) of the structure, including the area needed for construction staging
  • An elevation (11”x17” paper size is preferred)
  • A cross section (including dimensions)
  • An engineer’s report may be required at the discretion of the permit reviewer
  • If work will be taking place on an arterial or in a “high-impact” area, a traffic control plan (TCP) will be required

If approved, an indemnity agreement will be drafted and you will need to record against the title of the property at King County Records prior to your annual permit issuance.

Note: Depending on the scale of your project, other materials may also be required. Email us at publicspace@seattle.gov or SDOTPermits@seattle.gov, or visit us in person at our Street Use permit counter to learn more.

Permit for structure on private property

If your proposed fence, wall, stairway, etc. will be located entirely on private property, your permit(s) will need to be obtained through the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI).

A key point of clarification - a project located completely on private property still requires a Construction Use permit from SDOT Street Use if some of the associated work (e.g, material storage, equipment crossing the sidewalk) will take place in the public right of way.

Note: There are different requirements for permitting structures on private property as opposed to in public right of way. For example, SDCI does not require a permit for fences or walls constructed under a certain height, but any fence or wall in the right of way requires a permit, regardless of height.