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 developers 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 our design requirements, recommendations, plans, and policies. We also aim to ensure that the transportation impacts of private development are appropriately identified and addressed.

We 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.

The development review program is being implemented incrementally, starting with:

  • Providing enhanced information during the earliest stages of private development projects
  • Contributing to each project's preliminary assessment report (PAR), which provides analyses and requirements from various City departments
  • Participating in early design guidance (EDG) pre-submittal meetings to improve coordination between project applicants and City departments
  • Reviewing design proposal submissions to the Design Review Board and providing comments via a memo to the Board, the applicant, and SDCI land use reviewer
  • Providing 0-30% conceptual guidance and approval during the Street Improvement Permit (SIP) process
  • Participating in the review process for Major Institution Master Plans (MIMP), public school departures from code requirements, and major phased developments
  • SEPA review of transportation impact analyses and advising on proposed mitigatoin measures in partnership with SDCI

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) and Streets Illustrated
  • 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


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 Land Use Permit Map, provided by our partners at the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI).

Frequently Asked Questions

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

As we implement this program, we will work to make our review process as seamless as possible and to align our guidance process with SDCI. We look to make decisions at the most efficient time (0-30% design) and to carry those decisions through the MUP review process, thereby accelerating the Street Improvement Permit (SIP) process (30-100% design).

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

The Development Review team provides 0-30% design guidance. Guidance at this stage entails completing the preliminary assessment report (PAR) and attending EDG pre-submittal meetings, early stage communication with the applicant team on street improvement requirements and other design guidance, written communication with the Design Review Board for projects participating in SDCI Full Design Review, and consultation with SDCI 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 covers the 30- 100% design phase. For all projects participating in the SDCI Design Review program that trigger the SIP process, 0-30% conceptual approval from Development Review will now be required prior to beginning the full SIP process.

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

The Development Review staff will bill hours for providing conceptual review after a project's EDG pre-submittal meeting. In addition, 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) Design Review process?

Yes, if a developer would like early assistance from us 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 lead our department's review of transportation impacts as a part of the overall SDCI review process. Development Review staff will serve as the single point of contact for our review, internal coordination, and consolidation of comments.


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.