Permitting in the City of Seattle
Homeowners who are trying to navigate the permitting process in the City of Seattle will find that it is more complex than other jurisdictions in the Puget Sound region. Seattle’s permit process differs from most other surrounding jurisdictions and can sometimes take longer. Below is a general idea of what you can expect while trying to obtain a building permit from the City of Seattle.
1. Submit a Preliminary Application and request a Preliminary Assessment Report (PAR). This submittal typically includes a preliminary site plan. City of Seattle staff will then visit the project site and prepare a report outlining the design and permitting requirements for the proposed project.
2. Apply for Environmentally Critical Area (ECA) exemptions. If your project includes impacts to a critical area or it’s buffer (such as a wetland, stream, or steep slope), an ECA exemption may be required. This typically needs to be completed prior to any construction permitting. Exemptions may require a report from an outside consultant, and CG Engineering can recommend consultants who can produce these.
3. Schedule an intake appointment. In Seattle, an intake appointment for all new permits is required. Construction permit intake appointments typically take several months to schedule, so we often schedule them before the engineering plans are complete to get in the queue.
4. Prepare and submit intake packet. This typically required engineering plans and may require other reports or plans from other consultants. CG Engineering can recommend consultants to prepare these additional items. Once all the plans and materials are ready, CG Engineering will upload them to Seattle’s online permitting system. On the intake appointment date, the plans are screened, and City staff may request additional information before accepting the application. Once the application is accepted, the City issues an invoice, which must be paid before the plans are reviewed.
5. Comments and resubmittals. Most permits require a few cycles of jurisdictional review and plan revisions. The City of Seattle will conduct an initial review and issue comments with requests for plan revisions or more information. CG Engineering will revise the plans as requested and re-submit for another review. Most projects require 1-3 rounds of review and comments.
6. Permit issuance. Once the City of Seattle has approved the plans and all fees have been paid, the permit can be issued and you can begin construction on your project.
Additional Permitting Requirements
Depending on the type of project and its location, there may be some additional requirements. CG Engineering can assist with many of these. They may include:
- Right-of-way permit, for any work within the public right-of-way
- Projects over an acre in size may require additional permitting with the Department of Ecology
- Utility availability letters from local utility providers
- Site building permits for rockeries or retaining walls
- Engineer’s cost estimates for contractors
- Traffic control plans for contractors
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