SIP Lite


Major street improvements in the right-of-way require a Street Improvement permit (SIP). These permits are triggered either because of Land Use Code requirements or by voluntary street improvements. The iterative review process for these permits can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years – or more! – depending on the scope of the street improvements and required review coordination. Until now, there has been no process for small scale projects that do not require the same amount of coordination and review.  

To streamline the review process and help you fast track limited scope of street improvements, we are introducing a new SIP use named "SIP Lite." SIP Lite is one of the three use types that will be added to the existing SIP Permit in the new Accela SIP permit workflow. The remaining two use types SIP and SIP Publicmain will be used for the major street improvements and for public mainline extensions. Refer to the SIP Applicant Guides for more information on the full SIP process.

What type of projects are eligible under SIP Lite?

The recent Pedestrian Access and Circulation code change, SMC 23.53.006., has triggered pedestrian and curb ramp improvements on many corner lot properties. Not only that many small, projects often also require small scale street improvements such as closing unused curb cuts, installing new driveways, sidewalk repairs and or pavement restoration adjacent to the frontage. Currently, any such minor street improvements are covered under a Construction Use Permit or SIP permit depending on the scope of work. The SIP Lite will consolidate all such improvements under a single use and reduce the plan review and approval process. 

Projects that are eligible for the "SIP Lite" process will include:

  • New land use code required curb ramps
  • Small scale street improvements either land use code required or voluntarily developed <2,000 SF
  • Curb ramps triggered due to construction activity
  • Curb and sidewalk infill (new curb and sidewalk installation on mid-block between existing curb and sidewalk)

Any street improvements that require more than 2,000 SF of new or replaced impervious surface in the ROW will go through the normal SIP permit review process. Any curb ramps triggered due to utility relocations or utility work will continue to be under the current Utility Major Permit process.

SIP Lite Review Cycle

Unlike the full SIP Permit process, SIP Lite review streamlines the process by eliminating some of the 30% and 60% Design guidance review process benchmarks and fast tracks the permit review to reduce the overall permit life cycle time.

The permit will first be assigned and reviewed by the Development Review team which will determine if the project is eligible for SIP Lite or not. If the project is eligible, then the permit will be assigned to a SIP PM and the use will be updated in Accela to "SIP Lite". This will skip the workflow steps for 60% review and Design guidance and will directly take the permit to 90% formal review.

The SIP PM will screen the plans to check if all the requirements are met. If no further changes are deemed necessary, the SIP PM will review and approve the SDCI building intake appointment so that you can submit your building permit plans to SDCI.  

The plans will then go through a six-week formal review period for review and comments. After the initial 90% submittal, each next submittal will be for a four-week review period until all comments on the plans are completely addressed. Once all the comments are addressed, the SIP PM will prepare a bond estimate for the proposed improvements and inform you of the next steps to permit issuance. Depending on the level of design you submit, it is estimated that the SIP Lite review and approval might take anywhere from 5 to 6 months.

How do I apply for a SIP Lite permit?

Step 1 - Determine if your Permit is eligible for a SIP Lite

Complete a SIP Application in the Seattle Service Portal and upload a 30% site plan with proposed improvements in the ROW, SIP Lite Eligibility Checklist and PAR if applicable.

The 30% site plan must clearly depict the proposed area in SF and indicate the total SF of the proposed improvements.

Our Development Review team will review the 30% SIP Plan and Eligibility criteria and determine if the project is eligible for SIP Lite or not. If it is eligible, go to Step 2. If not, address the corrections from the Development Review team.

Step 2 - Submit 90% Plans and SIP Lite Checklist

Submit 90% plans and SIP Lite Checklist.

The plans shall meet the requirements stated in the SIP Lite checklist. Submit any additional documents such as ADA MEF forms, Deviation Request forms, survey and basemap etc. if applicable. We have introduced a new Curb Ramp Template detail to have consistent representation of curb ramps on all SIP permits.  You can find additional forms on our Permitting Forms page.

Step 3 - Plan Approval Notification 

Once the plans meet all the requirements stated, the SIP PM will send a Plan Approval Notification email in Accela with next steps to permit issuance. The email notification will indicate the final plan submittal, bond amount for the project, all the pre-construction materials required to be submitted by the applicant before the pre-construction meeting.

Step 4 - Submit Pre-Construction Materials

In Accela, the Formal Review and the Pre-construction process can be reviewed simultaneously. If your project already has a contractor, provide all your pre-construction materials in Accela for review and approval.

Step 5 - Submit Final Plans for Approval  

Similar to SIP Permits, all SIP Lite permit plans will be routed for final signature process through Adobe Sign process. Once the plans are approved, the SIP PM will notify you in Accela to submit their final plans. The final plans will then be routed for signatures through the City Adobe Sign process.

Step 6 - Submit Bond and Certificate of Insurance 

Once your SIP Lite plans and pre-construction materials are reviewed and approved by the SIP PM, the SIP PM will update your record status in Accela to "Pre-Issuance." Under the pre-Issuance, our Applicant Services team will review the bond and certificate of insurance.

Step 7 - Pay the fees and obtain the permit.

After the pre-construction meeting is completed, you can pay the final issuance fee and obtain the permit. 

Step 8 - Schedule Pre-Construction Meeting

Once the permit is issued, the Contractor or the Owner will request a Pre-construction meeting through Outlook to the SIP PM (Note: this is not through Accela).

The SIP PM will schedule a Pre-construction Meeting and invite the Contractor, SIP Inspector, HUB group, SPU Inspections team and other City internals depending on the project scope of work. The SIP PM will lead and complete the Pre-construction meeting and distribute the meeting notes to all meeting participants.

Step 9 - Job Start Notification

After the Pre-Construction Meeting is completed, the Initial Inspection will be scheduled 5 days after the 1st use start date. If revised start dates are required, then you should request an Amendment through Accela. For more information on the amendments refer to the Seattle Service Portal.