Section 1: Street Improvement Permit Process Overview

Street improvement requirements are determined during Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections' (SDCI) preliminary assessment and preapplication process. Refer to SDCI Tip 100, 101 and the Interdepartmental Permit Coordination Applicant Guide for more details. Any private development that triggers permanent improvements of significant scope in the City’s public right-of-way (ROW) needs to obtain a Street Improvement Permit (SIP) issued by our Street Use division.

Types of projects that fall under SIP permit category include (but aren't limited to):

  • Land Use Code-required streets improvements such as new curb, sidewalk, and other frontage improvements
  • Extending public storm, water and sewer main extensions in the ROW
  • Improvements to unimproved streets and alleys
  • New paving or road widening projects
  • Greater than 2,000 SF of new or replaced impervious surface improvements in the ROW
  • Major projects for Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) reductions in ROW such as GSI, storage, and treatment
  • Major interagency transportation projects such as Link Light Rail extensions, King County Metro Bus lines
  • Final Plat review for full and unit lot subdivisions

If you are not required to install street improvements per the Land Use Code, but choose to enhance or modify your existing streetscape, you can voluntarily provide improvements under a SIP.

For small scale street improvements required by the Land Use Code, we offer the SIP Lite permit. You can check if your project is eligible for SIP Lite.

Construction plans for major and permanent improvements must be prepared by a Professional Civil Engineer according to the parameters set out in Seattle Streets Illustrated and reference the City of Seattle's Standard Plans and Specifications. The plans must be prepared in the format described in CAM 2201. We must approve the plans and issue the permit prior to construction in the right-of-way.

All City costs associated with the SIP are the responsibility of the project permittee. In addition to permit fees, costs for Conceptual Review, SIP Design Review, Formal Review, inspection, and project close out, are charged on an hourly basis.

If you have questions regarding the SIP process, please contact a SIP Project Manager or email us at SDOTPERMITS@seattle.gov.

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Step 1: Application and Conceptual Review

Applications for SIPs are submitted through the Accela Permitting Portal. Documents required to be submitted with each record type are listed as conditions of approval at submission of each record application in Accela Portal.

The Development Review team provides consistent direction throughout the SDCI Master Use Permit (MUP) Process and the early stages of the SIP process. Street improvement scope of work is determined per the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) during the Preliminary Assessment Report (PAR) and SDCI pre-application phases of the project. Additional street improvements may also be identified during the MUP process. The Development Review team conducts 30% SIP conceptual review for all SIP submittals for compliance with SMC land use requirements and ROWIM/Seattle Streets Illustrated design standards. 30% SIP Conceptual review typically takes 1 - 3 weeks to complete. Grading and other technical aspects are not reviewed during 30% conceptual review. Projects advance when our partner departments and divisions, such as SDCI, SPU Solid Waste, and Traffic Operations sign-off. Once 30% conceptual approval is obtained, your project is assigned to a SIP Project Manager (PM). A member of the development review team may attend the SIP design review meeting to advance the project from 0-30% development review to 60-90% SIP completion to ensure consistency of design guidance as the project moves forward with detailed design. 

If you need guidance prior to submitting your 30% SIP plans, contact the SDOT Development Review team member listed on the project's Preliminary Assessment Report (PAR) or come to the Street Use Counter for coaching from SIP Project Managers. 

If the scope of your project is small and does not require a Design Review meeting, see if your project is eligible for SIP Lite. Application materials are available here.

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Step 2: SIP Design Review

After Conceptual Review, the project enters the Design Review phase. The goal of Design Review is to obtain 60% Complete SIP Approval, and help you (the applicant) prepare 90% complete plans for acceptance. You will interact with the SIP PM, who manages the project up to the Permit Issuance stage. Design Review meetings are available for 30% + to 60% . During the Design Review meeting, the applicant meets with the assigned SIP PM along with representatives from city departments and outside agencies to determine how to best meet requirements given existent constraints. Refer to the Design Guidance Applicant Guide for details. The number of meetings required to achieve 60% Complete SIP Approval depends on your project's complexity. Once the project gets 60% SIP Approval, the SIP PM will update the SDCI record number in Accela Portal to let the project for building intake appointment. 

If your project requires easements or dedication of land for streets, alleys, utilities, or a similar public use, consult CAM 2203, “Dedication of Right-of-Way or Easements.” If access to adjacent properties is necessary to complete construction of your project, a temporary easement or right of entry is required. We highly recommend that you start the process for obtaining easements, dedications, and/or right of entries during the SIP Design Review phase. If required, these items must be executed before you can be issued a SIP.

The references typically used in the design of street improvements are:

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Step 3: Formal Review

After completing the Design Review phase, your project will move to Formal Review task phase in Accela, where you can track the permit’s progress. The SIP PM continues to be your contact during the Formal Review phase. During Formal Review, the plans are circulated to multiple review locations, including design engineers and utility companies for review.

The first Formal Review takes six-weeks to complete. After the six-week review cycle, a consolidated set of review comments are prepared for the applicant and posted in the Accela portal. Additional Formal Reviews are conducted until the plans address all of the comments and are ready for approval. Additional Formal Reviews take 4 weeks to complete. Consolidated comments will be provided at the end of the 4-week review cycle. With the submittal for Additional Formal Reviews, you must submit a written response and plan corrections for each review comment. The SIP PM screens the materials prior to accepting the plans for each review cycle. You can request meetings prior to submittal for Additional Formal Review to discuss and/or resolve review comments if necessary. 

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Step 4: Plan Approval 

The SIP PM will provide you with instructions on how to submit the plans for approval. You must submit the following before you are issued a permit:

  1. PDF of the final plans with the engineer’s stamp on them (without a signature) for the SIP electronic signature process.
  2. A surety bond or cash deposit is required prior to issuance of the Street Improvement Permit. The value of the bond is based on the street improvement construction cost and the expense the City may incur as a result of unfinished work or the potential damage to utilities. Governmental agencies are exempt from the surety bond requirement.

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Step 5: Pre-Construction Materials

Pre-construction materials can be submitted with Formal Review via the Accela Portal or after permit issuance by submitting an Amendment through the Accela Portal.

The Pre-Construction Materials Transmittal Form identifies the pre-construction materials required prior to issuance. The materials include:

  • Request for Approval of Material Sources (RAMS) Form
  • Mix Designs
  • Sieve Analysis
  • Catalog Cuts
  • Certificate of Insurance for General Liability Insurance (see CAM 2102)
  • Traffic Control Plans
  • Phase Schedule Manager
  • Construction Notification
  • Other Construction Submittals as needed

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Step 6: Permit Issuance 

When the permit is ready to issue, you can pay your permit issuance fees here. Once the bond is approved by the City Law Department and the permit fee is paid, a SIP will be issued to construct the approved plan. 

We may require other Street Use permits in addition to the SIP, depending on the nature of your project. For example, if an area of a City street or sidewalk outside the construction area will be needed to store equipment or materials this would be covered under a separate permit. Refer to CAM 2109 for details. 

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Step 7: Pre-Construction Meeting

Once the pre-construction materials are approved and the permit is issued, you must request a pre-construction meeting with your assigned SIP Project Manager. The general contractor must be present at the pre-construction meeting and it is highly recommended that the sub-contractors also attend. The design engineer may also be asked to attend the meeting. The Contractor requests the SIP PM to set up a pre-construction meeting and the SIP PM will schedule a meeting based on assigned SIP Inspector and other City Inspectors' availability. 

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Step 8: Construction and Inspection

During construction of the SIP, the General Contractor is responsible for scheduling all required inspections with the Street Use Inspector.

When construction is completed, the General Contractor requests a final inspection. The Street Use Inspector will schedule the final inspection and compile a list of items that need correction (i.e., punch list).

Final As-built plans shall be submitted by the Contractor to SDOT SIP Inspector after the final inspection on the permit is complete. The SIP Inspector verifies whether the As-builts are accurate and complete. As-builts must be submitted in a PDF format to the Inspector.

When all items from the punch list are completed, a final check is made. The permit is signed-off and the inspector’s book is turned in to the Records Vault.

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Step 9: Close Out

After the permit is signed-off, the one-year warranty period commences. If applicable, SDCI’s building inspector is notified of the completed right-of-way improvements. ROW construction must be completed and accepted prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by SDCI for the development.

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Step 10: Warranty Period

According to Seattle Municipal Code, the entire surety bond or cash deposit must stay in force for at least one year after construction acceptance of the public right-of-way improvements by us. Eleven months after permit sign-off, you should contact the inspector so they can return to the site to verify that the improvements have remained in the original accepted condition. If problems exist, the inspector will notify you of the required corrections. After any necessary corrections are made past the one-year warranty period, a letter will be sent to you regarding the bond release.

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