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Street Use Home
Getting a Permit
Permit Services Online: Pay Permit Fees or Check Status
Client Assistance Memos and Forms
Resolving Street Use Permit Disagreements
Fee Schedule/Permit List
Construction Hub Coordination Program
Inspections
Utility Coordination in City Streets
Right-of-Way Improvements Manual
Street Vacations
Street and Sidewalk Pavement Opening and Restoration Rules
Shoreline Street Ends
Grade Sheet Process
Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Street Use

SDOT Street Use Frequently Asked Questions

Please Note:

If you have any other questions please contact us at (206) 684-5283 or SDOTpermits@Seattle.gov.

General Information
What is a property owner's responsibility for streets and sidewalks?
Who is responsible for streets, alleys, and rights-of-way?
What barriers are needed between sidewalks & off-street parking?
How can I find out where my property line is?
What is a property owner's responsibility for weeds, debris & garbage?
How do I report illegal dumping?
How do I file a claim?
How can I learn about roadway closure barricade requirements?
If I am looking up a permit that I did not create, how can I find out who the inspector is for my district?
How can I let Street Use know about an emergency at night or over the weekend?


Online Permitting
Why am I not receiving emails about my online permit request?
Why do I keep getting a message on the web site about secure and nonsecure items?
Is the OLP System available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
Where can I find more information on Use Codes?
Can I have more than one use code per permit?
What is a Permit Specialist Review Condition?
How can I request one or more specific uses of the right-of-way in my permit application, including the dates of work and duration?
What do I do if I received an error when creating a permit online?

Permit Issuance and Renewal
What type of work in the right-of-way requires a permit?
Where do I go to get a permit?
How much does a permit cost?
Can I get a permit the same day?
Can I do the work myself?
Can I just give the inspector a check to renew the permit when s/he goes back to the office?
How do I get my deposit refunded?
How do I get a permit for an awning or canopy?
How do I get a bond released for a street improvement project?
How do I get a permit to vend in Seattle or around the stadiums?

Side Sewers
What is a Side Sewer and Why Do I Need a Permit?
When are Side Sewer Permits Required?

Sidewalks and Driveways
What if I am building a driveway?
Why is sidewalk repair my responsibility?

Street Trees
Who is responsible for trees in planting strips?
What about tree trimming?
How do I report tree overgrowth?

Utility Permits
Are there any inspection costs for utility permits?
When can the work be done and can the street be closed for work?
Can an applicant do the restoration?
Does the City require money to be deposited for utility permits?
Are plans required?
When are over the counter permits issued?
Can I attach an aerial cable to utility poles?

GENERAL INFORMATION

What is a property owners responsibility for streets and sidewalks?
Streets and sidewalks are for everyone's use. They add value to private property by providing access to the property and a way to get to other places in the city.

When property is developed, property owners dedicate part of the land as "public right-of-way" for streets, sidewalks, utilities and similar public uses.

What some property owners do not realize is that they are responsible for maintaining part of the public right-of-way next to their property, including the sidewalk and planting strip, or the roadway shoulder if unimproved. Property owners are also responsible for maintaining unpaved alleys next to their property.

Who is responsible for streets, alleys, and rights-of-way?
SDOT maintains roadways that are open for travel. The department maintains them to the level they have been improved. The department does not maintain areas that were dedicated for streets, but were never improved and opened for travel. Property owners are responsible for any unopened street areas next to their property.

Property owners also maintain unpaved or unopened alleys, and alleys not paved to City standards.

The City oversees all public rights-of-way and may close any of these areas that become unsafe.

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Most improvements to streets and alleys, such as upgrading or paving surfaces, planting street trees, or installing sidewalks, are accomplished by:

  • private contract with private funding;
  • Street Use Permit with private funding and privately maintained;
  • the formation of a Local Improvement District (L.I.D.) in which neighboring property owners are proportionally assessed for a share of the costs; or
  • City-funded projects.


What barriers are needed between sidewalks & off-street parking?
To protect the safety of pedestrians, City-approved barriers must be installed to separate off-street parking from sidewalks. Barriers such as fences and curbs prevent vehicles from encroaching into pedestrian walkways.

How can I find out where my property line is?
To legally establish your property line requires the services of licensed surveyor. The City of Seattle has resources in the Engineering Vault (684-5132) that can help you determine approximately where your property lines are.

What is a property owner’s responsibility for weeds, debris, and garbage?
To protect the health and safety of the public, it is important to keep streets, alleys and sidewalks free of obstructions, litter, and other material.

Property owners must trim or remove overhanging trees, plants, shrubs, vegetation or debris which obstruct streets, alleys or sidewalks, or which are a fire hazard. Contact DPD at (206) 615-0808 or http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/complaintform/. Pruning or removal of trees from street right-of-way areas requires a Street Use Permit. Contact the City Arborist's Office at 684-7649.

Property owners must also prevent rubbish, garbage or waste material from accumulating on their property, sidewalks, or planting strips, regardless of who put the material there.
Instances of accumulation of junk and garbage on private property is a code violation and should be referred to the DPD Code Compliance Unit.To report a violation Contact DPD at (206) 615-0808 or http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/complaintform/.

To report illegal dumping, call the Seattle Public Utilities Illegal Dumping Hotline at 684-PKUP (684-7587) or http://www2.seattle.gov/util/forms/illegalDumping/illegalDumpForm.asp.


How do I report illegal dumping?
To report illegal dumping, call the Solid Waste Utility Illegal Dumping Hotline at 684-7587 or report your complaint online using the online form.

How do I file a claim?
Claims for damages against the City of Seattle must be filed with the City Clerk within the applicable statute of limitations and on the official claim form.  For more information, including claim forms, call the City’s Risk Management Office at (206) 684-8213, or visit http://www.seattle.gov/riskmanagement/

How can I learn about roadway closure barricade requirements?
Refer to SDOT’s Traffic Control Manual for requirements.

If I am looking up a permit that I did not create, how can I find out who the inspector is for my district?
The following link identifies Street Use inspectors by district:
www.seattle.gov/transportation/stuse_insp.htm

How can I let Street Use know about an emergency at night or over the weekend?
Call the SDOT 24-hour dispatch office at 206-386-1218. or email SDOTjobstart@seattle.gov

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Online Permitting

Why am I not receiving emails about my online permit request?
Depending on the email program you are using, the emails sent regarding your online permit request may be getting filtered into your Spam folder. The majority of email programs will not filter these emails but some will for various reasons. Please check in your Spam folder to see if these emails are there. If they are, please adjust your Spam filters so that no more emails from this source are flagged as Spam.

Why do I keep getting a message on the web site about secure and nonsecure items?
Depending on the Internet browser you are using, you may get a message when you progress from one page to another that reads This page contains both secure and nonsecure items. Do you want to display the nonsecure items? This message indicates that the web page you are about to access does not use secure protocol for all items on it. You can adjust your Internet security settings so that this message does not appear in the future. For more information on secured and nonsecure items, click on the More Info button when the message appears.

Is the OLP System available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
No, the Street Use OLP System is scheduled to be down between midnight and 4:00 a.m. every night and may occasionally have a non-scheduled downtime for other maintenance.

Where can I find more information on Use Codes?
Client Assistance Memo 2100 and the Fee Schedule provides more detailed Use Code information.

Can I have more than one use code per permit?
A typical permit has only one or sometimes two use codes. Applicants can add more than one use code to an online permit application through the Add Item button on the Permit Details screen. Additional uses can be added to a permit only if they are for the same work location. The permit cost is the same (e.g., one use code each costs the same as one permit with three use codes). If your permit has more than seven use codes, it can not be printed via the online site. Request a printed copy from Street Use by sending an email to sdotpermits@seattle.gov or by calling (206) 684-5283.

What is a Permit Specialist Review Condition?
A Permit Specialist Review Condition indicates that your online application requires a Street Use Permit Specialist to review and verify the information you submitted before the permit can be issued.

How can I request one or more specific uses of the right-of-way in my permit application, including the dates of work and duration?
On the permit details page there is a white button on a white background labeled “Add Item” just below the "Permitted Use Details" header. Clicking on the “Add Item” button allows you to add specific use information.

What do I do if I received an error when creating a permit online?
Try closing the browser and logging back in. If the permit has been submitted, the number will be at the top of the list when you search for your permits in progress, if not you’ll need to start the permit over. For additional help, send an email to sdotpermits@seattle.gov or phone the Street Use counter at (206) 684-5283.

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PERMIT ISSUANCE AND RENEWAL

What type of work in the right-of-way requires a permit?
Construction in, on, under or above a street area requires a Street Use Permit. A street area includes sidewalks, alleys, triangles and planting strips. Examples of construction which affect street right-of-way areas are signs, flag poles, awnings, rockeries, steps, clocks, driveways, and street trees. Use of street areas for other activities such as block parties and sidewalk cafes also requires a Street Use Permit. Any existing structure (i.e. rockeries, steps, etc.) located in the public ROW will require a field review to determine if the structure will be allowed to remain in the public ROW.  If the structure is approved to remain, an annual permit will be required.

Where do I go to get a permit?
To obtain a permit you must come to the Street Use Permit Counter between the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm.

How much does a permit cost?
Fees and other charges depend on the type of permit. There are permit fees, plan review costs, and inspections costs. Deposits to cover future costs are also required. Permit fees are assessed based on the type of permit and the amount of right-of-way, if any, impacted by the permitted work. Plan review time and inspection time are charged by the hour. Refer to the fee schedule for a break down of fees and other costs.

Can I get a permit the same day?
For many types of permits you can get them the same day. To be sure, please call ahead and check.

Can I do the work myself?
Depending upon the type of permit you may be able to do the work yourself. Some permits have insurance and bond requirements.

Can I just give the inspector a check to renew the permit when s/he go es back to the office?
No. You must pay in person for the renewal and sign the renewal permit.

How do I get my deposit refunded?
After completion of the permit and/or work you must call Street Use inspector listed on your permit and request a final inspection for release. If all conditions of the permit are met, the permit is signed off and accounting is notified to release your deposit.

How do I get a permit for an awning or canopy?
To erect an awning or canopy requires a permit from DPD and an annual permit from Street Use. The awning or canopy must be a minimum of 8 feet above the sidewalk and not conflict with street trees. The included area (sq. ft.) for the awning or canopy is also required.

How do I get a bond released for a street improvement project?
Street improvement projects require the bond to remain in force for one year after the project has been completed and signed off. The analyst will check the sign off date for the project. Prior to the one-year anniversary of the sign off date SDOT will make a final inspection of the project site. If no problems are found with condition of the project the owner, developer or contractor responsible will be contacted by letter that the bond is no longer needed. The account will be checked prior to releasing the bond for any outstanding balance due. If no outstanding balance is found then the bond will be released on the anniversary date and any residual money in the account will be returned. If you have not been contacted by the anniversary date then you should contact the analyst to arrange a final inspection.

How do I get a permit to vend in Seattle or around the stadiums?
The City of Seattle has rules and ordinances about what and where you can vend. Please refer to our Client Assistance Memo on Vending for additional information.

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SIDE SEWERS

What is a Side Sewer and Why Do I Need a Permit?
Side Sewers are privately owned sanitary pipelines which connect your building or home to a city main sewer, storm drain or combined sewer. The construction and repair of side sewers is regulated by DPD in order to prevent public health problems that could be caused by substandard materials, positioning, or workmanship.

Property owners construct, maintain, and repair their own side sewers and drainage pipes, under the regulations of the Side Sewer Code. Construction and repair of side sewers within a public street area must be performed by a registered Side Sewer Contractor. Permits for construction and repair are required, and are issued at the DPD Permit Counter, 20th Floor, Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, Seattle.

For more information, visit the DPD Side Sewer web site, or call the DPD Drainage & Sewer Review Desk, (206) 684-5362.

When are Side Sewer Permits Required?
Side sewer permits must be obtained before:

  1. The construction or repair of a side sewer on private property by a private property owner; and
  2. The construction or repair of any side sewer in a public place, such as the connection of a side sewer to a main sewer underneath the street area, which must be performed by a Registered Side Sewer Contractor.

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SIDEWALKS & DRIVEWAYS

What if I am building a driveway?
Property owners are responsible for providing a temporary or permanent driveway so that vehicles do not drive over sidewalks, planting strips or curbs. The construction of driveways requires a Street Use Permit, issued by the Department of Planning and Development.

A temporary driveway is an asphalt driveway installed where there is no curb constructed. It requires a permit issued by Street Use and a field review by an inspector for approval.

Why is sidewalk repair my responsibility?
Seattle Municipal Code, Title 15.72 requires that property owners keep the sidewalk adjacent to their property fit and safe for the purposes of public travel. As such, property owners must repair cracks and other damage to the sidewalk as well as ensure that snow and ice do not pose a hazard to pedestrians. If the sidewalk is determined to be unfit or unsafe, the Municipal Code requires SDOT to direct the abutting property owner to fix their sidewalk. The property owner of record is notified by the district Street Use inspector of the repairs or action needed. If there is an unsafe condition and you need to repair the sidewalk, apply for a Street Use sidewalk repair permit.

If a property owner installs a new concrete sidewalk, the owner or the contractor must obtain a Street Use Permit to make sure the walkway meets the City's current standards, including wheelchair ramps at street corners and proper drainage of the street area.

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STREET TREES

Who is responsible for the trees in planting strip?
Street trees planted by the City will be maintained by the City. All other trees are to be maintained by the abutting property owner. The City Arborist maintains a list of trees that are owned by the City. If the property owner wishes to remove the tree then a permit is required from Street Use with approval by the City Arborist.

What about tree trimming?
In most cases, trees interfering with vehicle visibility must be trimmed by the property owner. All trees must be maintained to provide 8 feet of clearance above sidewalks and 14 feet above roadways. Contact Seattle City Light at 386-1663 if tree limbs are near power lines or street lighting. City Light will determine if the tree needs to be pruned.

How do I report tree overgrowth?
Complaints about tree overgrowth on private property should be reported to the Department of Planning and Development at 684-7899. Tree planting, pruning and tree removal in public rights-of-way requires a Street Use permit.

Please note: Beginning in 2011, as a result of staff reductions due to budget cuts, DPD will inspect only those complaints of vegetation overgrowth that indicate a hazardous situation such as blocked traffic visibility or overgrowth that forces pedestrians off the sidewalk into the street. Other violations of the Weeds and Vegetation Code will be recorded and information about code requirements sent to the property owner or occupant responsible for the site. More information on regulation of vegetation overgrowth is available in Client Assistance Memo 611, Weeds and Vegetation Enforcement. You can also download the Weeds & Vegetation Safety Bulletin that contains information about these regulations, in a form that may be posted in community centers or given to a neighbor whose property does not meet code standards.


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UTILITY PERMITS

Are there any inspection costs for utility permits?
Yes. Inspection costs are charged on an hourly basis. Please see the fee schedule for details.

When can the work be done and can a street be closed for work?
Contact the SDOT Traffic Control Program office (684-5111).

Can an applicant do the street restoration?
Yes, but the restoration work must be guaranteed until such time as the street is repaved.

Does the City require money to be deposited for permits?
Yes. The deposit must cover SDOT's estimated inspection time and restoration costs.

Are plans required?
See CAM 2600

When are over the counter permits issued?
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm and Thursdays from 10:30am to 4:30pm

Can I attach aerial cable to utility poles?
Contact Stephen Crume at Seattle City Light at (206) 615-1385 for application and procedures. If approved by City Light, Street Use Utility permit will be issued. If applicant is not a registered telecommunication company or a company having a CATV franchise in Seattle, subject permit is to be taken out by the owner of the property being connected by the aerial cable. The o wner will have to pay an annual fee, equivalent to the permit fee being charged for the year in which the fee is being billed, and maintain $2,000,000 dollars public liability insurance naming the City of Seattle an additional insured. The f ee will be charged and the insurance must be maintained until such time as the cable is removed from the street right-of-way.

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