Accela Phase 1 and Fee Updates

What's happening?

On June 10, 2019, we're implementing some important changes to Street Use permitting:

  1. Phase 1 of our migration to Accela goes live;
  2. We're changing the way we calculate fees as part of the 3rd phase of our overall fee update strategy. 

You can find out more about how these changes will affect you below.

What is Accela?

Accela is a software system currently used to maintain many city records, such as Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) permits, Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) and truck permits, and some license applications. Since we issue many different permits with varied requirements in Street Use, we'll be moving to Accela in phases over the next two years.

The move to Accela means that you'll be able to apply online via the Seattle Services Portal for all permit types and you'll be able to check the status of your application, access related documents, and take advantage of a consolidated payment system for all applications.

We're making the transition to Accela because it is more efficient and provides greater transparency for you.

What's coming with Phase 1?

With Phase 1, you will be able to apply for all public space permits (this includes vending, block parties, and other private, long-term uses), permits for gardening in planting strips, and permits for storage containers in the right of way using the Seattle Services Portal.

If you have a Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) permit or a Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections permit, you already have an Accela account, as these are issued through the Seattle Services Portal. Consequently, you will not need to create a new account as your information will already be in the system.

Fee Updates

Why are the fees changing?

We're implementing these changes to support both our policy objective of encouraging shorter duration impacts and the City's initiative to create a non-motorized and high-capacity transportation network.

How will the change support these goals?

  • We're basing use on the duration and size of the use on a per-day basis;
  • We're eliminating the 10-day reset practice;
  • We're assessing use fees per 100 square feet (rounded up) instead of per square foot used;
    • Example: 124 sq. ft. work zone is assessed at 200 sq. ft. 
  • We're increasing fees in Urban Villages and Urban Centers and decreasing fees in residential areas.

Current Use Fee Model (est. 2005)

Use Fees under this model are calculated by square footage per 10 day period.

Duration (in days) Arterial Non-arterial
0-30 $0.10 $0
31-60 $0.20 $0.10
61-90 $0.40 $0.10
91-120 $0.80 $0.20
121-150 $1.20 $0.20
151-210 $1.20 $0.40
211-270 $1.20 $0.80
271+ $1.20

$1.20

Updated Use Feel Model (effective 6/10/2019)

As part of the new model, the way we calculate Use fees will change.

The new calculation is (Base + Factors) x (per 100 sq. ft.) x (duration) x (escalation rate). 

The Base is determined by the location: Urban Center, Urban Village, or neither.

The Factors are the mobility and safety factors based on the type of street and mobility impacts. These are Blocked (inaccessible), Impacted (partially blocked, but accessible), and Open (no impediment to the traveling public). 

The escalation rate will remain the same.

Base burden rates 
Urban Center Urban Village Neither
$1.00 $0.70 $0.40

Mobility factors
Arterial Non-arterial
$0.40 $0.15

Safety factors
Blocked Impacted Open
Transit facility $0.015 $0.01 $ -
Bike facility $0.015 $0.01 $ -
Pedestrian facility $0.015 $0.01 $ -

What is an occupation fee and why are they changing?

An occupation fee is what we charge permit holders for the square footage area of the right of way that they use long-term for non-transportation uses. 

These fees help fund the voluntary improvement program (SMC 15.04.100) and road maintenance programs, subsidize permitting for positive uses of the right of way, and subsidize permitting and process improvements. Beginning this year, these fees will be adjusted annually based on the percentage change of the Average Assessed Land Value (AALV). 

We're implementing these changes to optimize fees for private uses and business amenities. 

New Occupancy fee Model (Effective 6/10/2019)

Cost per square foot Urban Center Urban Village Neither
Arterial street $1.40 $1.35 $.90
Non-arterial street $1.20 $1.15 $.70

You can look up information about Urban Centers, Urban Villages, and street types on Streets Illustrated.

To help illustrate the changes, check out this table comparing the current and updated fees.

Occupancy fee comparison per square foot

Use Current New

(7C) Long-term maintenance of below-and above-grade structures

$.66 $.70
(16) Areaways existing prior to 1995 $.66 $.70 - $1.40

(7) Long term maintenance of structures and overhangs

$.66 $.70 - $1.40
(12) Material storage $.66 $.70 - $1.40
(18A & 18B) Merchandise display $1.56 $.70 - $1.40
Sidewalk cafés $1.56 $.70 - $1.40
(18D & 18E) Curb space cafés1 $1.56 + parking  $.70 - $1.40 + parking
(21) Underground storage tank $747 $767
(2A) Fixed ground signs $747 $767

1Current parking fees are assessed at $3,000; with the fee schedule update, this will change to $3,176 per paid parking stall and $300 per unpaid parking stall.

There is no change to (6) signs, (7A) structures and overhangs in underwater streets, and (WW100) waterways. 

Information about the changes to vending-specific occupancy fees can be found below.

Permit and hourly fee changes adjust annually based on the agreed upon Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). Please note that the City Council approves Public Space Management (PSM) term permits. Additionally, shoreline street end permits will now be charged PSM long-term issuance and renewal fees in addition to the occupation fee. 

In 2018, the coalition of bargaining units agreed on a 2.75% COLA. 

The Street Vacation fee adjustment was based on administrative cost recovery.

Fee Type 2018 2019 (as of 6/10)
ROWM Simple Issuance $150 $155
ROWM Complex Issuance $313 $324
Modification $159 $165
PSM Short-term Issuance $175 $181
PSM Long-term Issuance $224 $232
PSM Renewal $170 $176
Majors Issuance $4,700 $4,865
No permit / Job start fee $300 $311
Hourly review & inspection fee $260 $269
Overtime hourly review & inspection fee $520 $538
Street Vacation $450 $6,500

Public Activation Amenities (52)

Public Activation Amenity permits for long-term amenities, such as bike racks, planters, neighborhood identification pole banners, benches, art, and tables and chairs for public seating, are now entirely free. We are waiving our standard issuance and review fees. Permittees must maintain the installations in good condition; if an inspection is needed, the permittee may incur a fee billed at our hourly review and inspection rate. 

Vending Permits

We encourage street-food and flower vending to increase public use, enjoyment, and safety of our public right-of-way. Street-food vending is a great way to encourage walking, add vitality to the street, and promote local economic development. 

Site Specific Vending (19G and 19H)

Vending from a food vehicle parked in a curb space is permitted under a site specific vending permit. These permits are valid for a one-year duration. The occupation fee is an annual fee based on the number of 4-hour blocks of vending time per week and the type of parking space where the vending takes place. 

Example: vending one day a week in a paid parking stall for 4-hours would have a $478 yearly occupation fee. Vending two days a week in a paid parking stall for 4-hours each day would have a $956 yearly occupation fee. 

Description  
Occupation fee, per 4-hour block of vending - paid parking stall $478
Occupation fee, per 4-hour block of vending - unpaid parking stall $104
Issuance Fee $181
Hourly Review and Inspection Rate - invoiced $269
Permit Duration 1 year

Stadium and Event Center, Sidewalk, and Plaza Vending (19C and 19E)

Description  
Occupation fee Rate calculated by square footage and location, see below
Issuance fee $181
Hourly Review and Inspection Rate - invoiced $269
Permit Duration 1 year

The occupation fee for stadium and event center, sidewalk and plaza vending permits are calculated by the square footage of the vending site and by the location of vending per the table below. You can look up the street type, Urban Center, and Urban Village designations on Streets Illustrated.

Stadium and Event Center, Sidewalk, and Plaza Vending Occupation Fees, per sq. foot

Street Type Urban Center Urban Village Neither
Arterial street $1.40 $1.35 $.90
Non-arterial street $1.20 $1.15 $.70

Temporary Vending (19I)

Temporary vending permits allow vending at a private or public event and fees are charged per day.

Description  
Issuance fee $181 per day
Hourly Review and Inspection Rate - invoiced $269
Permit Duration 1 day

Mobile Vending (19J)

Mobile food vending includes selling pre-packaged food, beverages, or flowers from a mobile unit and are issued for a one-year duration. This does not apply to food vehicles selling prepared food from a curb space.

Description  
Issuance fee $181
Hourly Review and Inspection Rate - invoiced None
Permit Duration 1 year

First Amendment Permits (19B/19K)

First Amendment permits include vending for eligible First Amendment merchandise or First Amendment expressive activity. 

Description Vending Expressive Activity
Issuance Fee $0 $0
Occupancy Fee $50/mo $0
Hourly Review and Inspection Rate - invoiced See below See below

Depending on the proposed First Amendment vending or expressive activity, permit applicants may be invoiced for review and inspection at an hourly rate. For more information about this, please contact publicspace@seattle.gov.