Development Review

What We Do

Our development review team provides comprehensive early-design guidance to developers to better integrate private development with the City’s rights-of-way priorities.

We aim to improve service to both neighborhood residents and the development community by providing consistent direction and design assistance, a single SDOT contact throughout the Master Use Permit (MUP) process, and relevant, up to date information on SDOT design requirements, recommendations, plans, and policies. We also aim to ensure that the transportation impacts of private development are appropriately identified and addressed.

We also coordinate closely with our partners at the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) to provide a more seamless experience for developers and project applicants. By working together, we are better able to align development priorities, multimodal transportation operations, and leverage opportunities to save money and provide public benefit with private development projects.

What’s New

Photo of a development meetingThe development review process is a new initiative. We are implementing the program incrementally, starting by:

  • Providing enhanced information during the earliest stages of private development projects
  • Providing improved preliminary assessment reports (PARs), which are documents that reflect consolidated analyses and requirements from various City departments that have reviewed your project
  • Improving coordination between City departments and developers at early design guidance (EDG) pre-submittal meetings
  • Engaging in design review and transportation impact analysis
  • Billing for design review and other services

Check back often, as we will be providing additional information on this site as the program develops.

Program Goals

The Development Review Program seeks to:

  • Ensure private development aligns with city priorities and multimodal transportation operations, while implementing Seattle Municipal Code and the guidance outlined in the Right-Of-Way Improvements Manual (ROWIM)
  • Provide high quality customer service with consistent direction to developers and information to the public
  • Identify opportunities to save both public and private parties money while maximizing public benefit

Projects

Development review staff coordinate and review during the early design stages of a wide variety of development projects across the city. To browse planned or in-progress development projects in Seattle, or to learn more about a project at a specific location, use the Shaping Seattle Map below, provided by our partners at the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI).

Frequently asked questions about the Development Review Program

How does the program fit into Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) Master Use Permit (MUP) process?

We strive to fully align our guidance and processes with those of SDCI. As we implement this program, and will work to make the SDOT review process as seamless as possible, while seeking to make decisions at the most efficient time (0-30% design) and to carry those decisions through the MUP review process, thereby speeding up the street improvement permit (SIP) process (30-100% design).

What is the difference between the development review and Street Improvement Permit (SIP) processes?

Think of the development review team as providing 0-30% design guidance. Guidance at this stage entails completing the preliminary assessment report (PAR) and attending EDG pre-submittal meetings, written communication with the Design Review Board for projects in the same development tract, and consultation with Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections as needed throughout the master-use permit (MUP) process. The Seattle Municipal Code requires the SIP process when developers are required to implement street improvements or install public utilities to serve a site. In contrast to the development review process, the SIP process takes place during the 30- 100% design phase. MUP conceptual approval will now be required prior to beginning the SIP process.

How will SDOT staff bill their review time, and who is allowed to bill hours to the project prior to the SIP process?

Any SDOT staff needing to collaborate with the development review team during the master-use permit process will bill hourly for their time. Each billable hour is charged at the current rate listed in the SDOT Street Use fee schedule.

Are there occasions when an applicant would apply for development review assistance outside of the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) early design guidance (EDG) process?

Yes, if a developer would like early SDOT assistance with any transportation-related question, we are here to help. We do ask that if the project also has a SDCI component, you complete the preliminary assessment process first.

There are times when projects are located entirely within the right of way, and others may be of such a scale that State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review is triggered. If the work is wholly in the right of way, we can help at any time. If the SEPA review is triggered, the development review team will take the lead on the SEPA process as a part of the overall SDCI review process. Development review staff will serve as the single point of contact for review, internal coordination, and consolidation of comments.