Seattle’s construction boom continues along with a surge in permit applications for projects in or near the right of way (ROW). SDOT’s Street Use Division manages the ROW—space dedicated to public use—in the public interest. That includes coordinating construction that impacts this shared public space. Construction and utility use permit applications account for the majority of all applications received. With 2015 nearly wrapped up, our team at the permit service counter is still seeing lots of activity. The volume of counter visits often exceeds the record-breaking weeks we saw last year.
Meanwhile, the team is working hard to implement new customer service approaches developed in the last year or so. These include streamlined permit application forms; templates to help applicants prepare site plans and prepare a construction management plan, as needed; an online traffic control plan base map; and one-on-one pre-submittal appointments for enhanced application screening, intake services and coaching.
Permit services reviews, issues and inspects approximately 35,000 permitted right-of-way uses annually. We continue to work on multiple fronts to evolve as the development landscape changes, with plans for workshops in 2016 on topics like site plan development; planning for pedestrian and bicycle mobility; and the basics of right of way permitting. Look for these offerings and continued improvements next year and beyond, to better serve permit applicants; mitigate impacts to neighborhoods; and work together for a thriving Seattle.