Rules and Codes

When working in and or otherwise using right of way in the City of Seattle, many codes and rules come into play. On this page, we have assembled materials to help you navigate applicable ordinances, requirements and processes. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of all City codes and rules that may apply, but instead is intended to provide quick access to some of our more frequently referenced materials. If you are unable to locate the rule or code you are searching for, or would like more information on a particular rule or code, please feel free to contact us using the information to the right, or visit us at one of our Permit Counters.

If you are planning a project, we ask that you contact us with any questions you may have early in your planning process - this allows us to better prepare you and your project for success. If you're interested in receiving coaching for applying for your permit, learn more on our Permit Counters page.

Director's Rules are administrative rules adopted according to the Administrative Code (SMC Chapter 3.02). Public notice of all SDOT Director's Rules is published in the City's official newspaper, currently the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, prior to adoption.

Please contact the SDOT Director's Office at (206) 684-5000 if you have questions or requests concerning SDOT Director's Rules, including:

  • Requests for signed copies of active rules;
  • Requests for copies of inactive rules (rules that have been superseded or rescinded); or
  • Requests to receive public notices of proposed rules. Any person may make a written request to receive an email alert or printed notice by mail when new rules are proposed. These requests may be renewed annually.

View Active Director's Rules under Director's Rules & Ordinances.

Seattle Municipal Code (SMC)

The Seattle Municipal Code is a codification of the general and permanent ordinances of the City of Seattle. Republished in 2015, the SMC is organized by subject matter into title, chapter, and section.

Revised Code of Washington

The Revised Code of Washington is the compilation of all permanent laws now in force. It is updated twice per year, and may be searched using keywords or by title, chapter, and section, as per the SMC.

For guidance on projects improving right-of-way space, including those projects requiring a Street Improvement Permit (SIP) <Link: x79606>, please see our Right-of-Way Improvements Manual. This manual is intended to help property owners, developers, architects and engineers plan for and design street and alley improvements associated with development projects. 

The Right-of-Way Opening and Restoration Rule (ROWORR) describes requirements anyone impacting public right-of-way space must meet when making and restoring openings. Implemented January 1, 2017, it updates the old Pavement Opening and Restoration Rule (PORR) with changes to timeframes, clearer ADA guidance, and more.

For information on current permit fees and costs, including how they are calculated, please visit our Fees & Costs page.