Non-Park Use of Seattle Parks and Recreation Property Permits

Non-Parks Use of Seattle Parks and Recreation Land Policy

If you need or want to use park property for a non-park use, you must obtain permission from the Department of Parks and Recreation, usually in the form of a Revocable Use Permit. 

"Permits for Non-Park Use of Park Property" includes any private use of park land or park open space that limits or diminishes the public's ability to use or enjoy park land, even temporarily. This would include activities such as making repairs or changes to your property, installing or replacing utility lines, storing belongings on park property, and adding or removing landscaping. View the Policy for Non-Park Uses of Park Property

Park lands include parks, playgrounds, viewpoints, boulevards, and other land under control of the Department of Parks and Recreation. If you are not sure, please check with the Department before proceeding. You can phone the Department's Property Management office at 206-233-7935 or you can click on the titles to the right to read more about Revocable Use Permits. Permits are revocable upon thirty (30) days notice or immediately upon failure of the Permittee to comply with the terms and conditions of the Permit. Unauthorized use of park property, including failure to apply for and obtain a Revocable Use Permit, is unlawful and subject to enforcement actions or other remedies as specified in Seattle Municipal Code 18.30

Applying for a Revocable Non-Park Use Permit

Download the Application, complete, sign and mail along with a non-refundable application fee of $200 to:

Seattle Parks & Recreation
Parks Real Estate Manager
Property Management Section
800 Maynard Ave. S, 3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98134-1366 

Revocable Use Permit Fees

Application Fee - $200
(non-refundable; includes one (1) on-site inspection and two (2) hours of staff time for reviewing and processing application)

Inspection and/or Monitoring - $200 per hour
(Application fee includes one on-site inspection. Additional on-site charges at $200.00 per hour may be assessed, for on-site inspections and/or monitoring, if specified in the Permit or if necessary in the Department's judgment, due to Applicant's or Permittee's action(s), or failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit.)

Limited Term Permit $250 per day or $325 minimum, whichever is greater

Continuing Use Permit, determined by formula (V x A x B x R) OR $650 minimum, whichever is greater, please see the formula below

Processing Charges, $130 per hour (costs of staff time in excess of two (2) hours to review and process permit applications; payable prior to permit issuance.)

*Exceptional permit conditions requiring staff monitoring will be billed to permittee. Full staff time expenses will be billed.

Formula for Continuing Use Permit Fee

Continuing Use permit fees shall be charged for uses expected to continue for an extended period of time, generally beyond ninety (90) days (e.g., encroachments or other non-park uses that will not be corrected or eliminated within a ninety (90) day period).  Continuing Use permit fees shall be calculated using a formula based on land Value, Area of use, a Barrier factor, and a Rate of return (V x A x B x R).

The Value of the park land used shall be determined by calculating the average of the assessed value per square foot of the benefited property and the assessed values per square foot of comparable (i.e., similarly zoned, having similar amenities such as waterfront or view), nearby (within a distance not to exceed 1,000 feet) non-park properties.

The Area shall be the total of the square footage of park land actually used or occupied for non-park purposes and/or the square footage of park land that is subject to a barrier to public use and/or enjoyment.

The Barrier Factor is a multiplier of 1 or less than 1, representing the extent of barrier to public use and enjoyment, as set by the following scale.  If two or more Barrier Factors may apply, the greater factor shall apply.

1.00    Full use and/or occupancy of area, preventing public use or occupancy of the area (e.g., a private structure); or creation of a physical barrier denying public use or access to the area (e.g., a fence or hedge);
.70    Creation of a perceptual barrier by improvements or actions that capture the public space for private use (e.g., paving, shrubbery, other plantings);
.35    Private landscaping or other improvements on park land that violate, exceed, or are inconsistent with established design guidelines or reasonable standards intended to preserve the public park-like character of park lands (e.g., private access drive or walkway in excess of standard; private lighting or safety railings that exceed a security function).

The Rate of return (i.e., land capitalization rate) is set at 10%.

Continuing Use permit fees for permit periods of less than twelve (12) months are payable in full prior to permit issuance. Continuing use permit fees for permit periods anticipated to continue for twelve (12) months or more may be pro-rated and annualized and payable in advance for such annualized date as the Department shall establish. If the permit period is shorter than anticipated, the permit fees paid in advance shall be prorated for the time used and over-payment shall be refunded, except in the case of revocation due to Permittee’s failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit, in which case no refund shall be given. Permits for utility installations, such as electrical, natural gas, or telephone service, shall be charged as Limited Term permits, based on the permit period necessary for installation.

There is no Permit Fee charged for Limited Term permits of ninety (90) days or less issued expressly to allow the removal or elimination of an encroachment onto park land.

There is no Permit Fee charged for certain non-park uses of park land which may be allowable by property right, such as driveway access from the roadway portion of a park boulevard if access is not available from any other right-of-way, or pedestrian walkway from a public sidewalk to the abutting private property, if such uses comply with established design guidelines or reasonable standards intended to preserve the public park-like character of park lands.