Section 1: Design Guidance Process Overview 

Private developments within the City of Seattle may be required by the Seattle Municipal Code to construct street improvements or install public utilities to serve a project site. These improvements within the city right-of-way are constructed under a Street Improvement Permit (SIP). In order to submit a SIP permit application for formal review the street improvement plans must be developed to 90% completeness.  SIP Design Guidance is available if you need help developing your plans from 30% to 90% completeness and is required for Street Improvement projects which contain any of the following elements in the right-of-way:  

  • Private encroachments into the right-of-way 
  • Traffic calming devices; traffic circles, chicanes, and/or curb bulbs 
  • New and/or modified curb alignment, curb returns, roadway alignment, and/or channelization 
  • Newly established roadway widths and curb setbacks 
  • Elements that do not meet the City of Seattle Standard Plans for Municipal Construction 
  • Pavement sections that do not meet the Right-of-way and Opening and Restoration Rule (ROWORR) and the Seattle Right-of-Way Improvements Manual (ROWIM) 
  • Non-standard permeable pavement for sidewalks and/or pedestrian paths 
  • Cross slopes that do not meet the Seattle Right-of-way Improvements Manual criteria 
  • New or revised marked crosswalks, bike tails and/or paths 
  • Detention systems and/or water quality features 
  • Public Storm Drain (PSD), Public Sanitary System (PSS) and/or Water Main lines 
  • Drainage swales and/or rain gardens 
  • Retaining walls greater than 4' tall 
  • New and/or modified areaways and/or bridges 
  • New and/or modified signal systems, SCL infrastructure, and/or Metro transit infrastructure 
  • New and/or relocated poles, street lighting and/ or pedestrian lighting 
  • Is subject to SDCI MUP Early Design Guidance and Design Review 
  • Includes discretionary mitigation requirements as determined by the SDCI MUP decision; has complexities identified by SDOT during coaching or a SDCI Pre-Submittal Conference, or preliminary assessment 
  • Or has Metro transit elements such as trolley overhead support poles and associated wires, or bus stop and/or layover facilities  

60% SIP Approval is typically obtained through our SIP Design Guidance (DG) process. If the scale of your project is small, you can obtain 60% approval without attending a Design Guidance Meeting. The assigned SIP PM will evaluate the project scope to determine if a meeting is required. If a meeting is not required, the SIP PM will meet internally with various City reviewers to obtain 60% comments and/or 60% approval.

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Section 2: SDOT SIP Design Guidance Process Steps 

If a SIP Design Guidance meeting is required, then you must go through the following steps to schedule a meeting. 

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Step 1: Submit Your SIP Permit:

You can electronically submit the SIP permit and all the required SIP permit document through the Accela Permitting Portal. The SIP permit is first reviewed by our Design Review Team for conceptual approval (30%) and then reassigned to a SIP Project Manager (PM) for 60% level review and approval. 

***The documents required at various stages of the SIP Permit can be found here.You can upload a list of specific questions or a proposed agenda for the SIP Design Guidance Meeting.    

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Step 2: Screening of Permit Documents: 

The SIP Project Manager will screen the permit documents (5 review days) and determine whether a DG meeting is required or not either through the Accela Portal design Review screening status of "Meeting Required." If the documents submitted do not meet the 60% requirements, then the SIP PM will fail the review and request additional information for review.   

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Step 3: Scheduling SIP Design Guidance Meeting 

SIP Design Guidance meetings are offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and Thursday afternoons from 1:30 to 3:00. When you receive a notification of "Meeting Required" in the Accela Portal, email the DOT_DG_Meetings@seattle.gov to schedule a SIP Design Guidance meeting. Our Street Use Applicant Services team will work with you to schedule the next available DG meeting within a minimum of five business days from the date the meeting is requested. For complex projects, the meetings may be scheduled further in the future to give the subject matter experts sufficient time to review the project materials prior to the meeting. Depending on the complexity of the project, more than one design guidance meeting may be scheduled to cover all project elements and to obtain 60% SIP Approval.  

If the project plans are significantly revised between the time the meeting is scheduled and the actual meeting date, an applicant can submit revised plans to the Accela Portal for inclusion in the meeting. The revised plans must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the scheduled design guidance meeting.  

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Step 4: SIP Design Guidance Meeting 

During the meeting, you will present and discuss you project with the SIP Project Manager and subject matter experts from various City departments and external agencies responsible for granting 60% SIP Approval. The Early Phase PM will also attend the 1st Design Guidance meeting to make the transition from early phase to design guidance smooth.  

An agenda created by the SIP Project Manager and/or you will be emailed to meeting participants at least two days prior to the meeting date. The SIP Project Manager will run the meeting but you will be expected to give a short summary of the project at the beginning of the meeting.  

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Step 5: Distribution of Meeting Notes 

Meeting notes will be documented by our staff or your team and distributed via email to all meeting participants for review. Any corrections to the meeting notes must be provided to the SIP Project Manager within the timeframe stated in the email. After any necessary corrections are made, the final meeting notes will be distributed to all meeting participants and will become the permanent record of project decisions and approvals.  

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Step 6: Completion of Action Items

Action items including reviewing plans and providing 60% SIP Approval are completed by the SIP Design Guidance meeting participants. Approvals and action item resolutions are documented in the meeting notes and distributed to all meeting participants.  

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Step 7: Provide Additional Guidance Commentary 

You are responsible for incorporating design guidance comments and requirements into their Street Improvement Plans. After 60% SIP Approval is obtained the applicant may proceed with developing and submitting 90% complete plans to SDOT for acceptance for Formal Review. See CAM 2214 for details.   

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Need Assistance With Street Improvement Permitting? 

SDOT Coaching is also available at the SDOT Street Use Counter located in the Seattle Municipal Tower on the 23rd Floor. The hours for walk up coaching are M W F 8:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 5:00 and T Th 10:30 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 5:00.  

Client Assistance Memos are available online. Paper copies of these documents are available at our Permit Services Counter located on the 23rd floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 5th Avenue.  

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