There are numerous surface elements in the street right-of-way that require regular or periodic maintenance. Maintenance responsibility for these elements varies. Typically, the City of Seattle is responsible for the area between the curbs. With the exception of trees and other landscape improvements installed by the City of Seattle and/or otherwise recorded in the inventory maintained by the SDOT Street Use and Urban Forestry Division, the adjacent property owner is responsible for the area between the curb and property line, including the sidewalk.
The City maintains public utilities that have been installed to serve the general public. The property owner is responsible for maintenance of service lines to their properties. Property owners are also responsible for the portion of their water service that extends from the union generally located at their property line to the shutoff valve of their residence or business. The City is responsible for the portion of the water service that extends from the union to the water main, including the meter and service line. Refer to Figure 5-1: Water Service Responsibility Diagram which illustrates City and property owner responsibilities regarding water service. For more information on Side Sewers contact Seattle Public Utilities.
If a property owner or project applicant installs or constructs a unique feature in the right-of-way that will be privately owned and maintained (e.g., rockery, street furniture, artwork), the City of Seattle requires a separate permit and indemnification. Depending on the type of encroachment the permit will either be an annual permit or a term permit (which requires City Council approval). The purpose of these permits is to clarify that the responsibilities for maintenance lie with the private property owner. In some cases, a bond may be required to deal with removal of a unique structure in the future, if necessary. Approved indemnity agreements are recorded at King County and become part of the property deed that is recorded with the King County Assessor’s Office.