SDOT Street Use right-of-way permit rates are changing—rewarding well-prepared applicants and moving to project/service-based permitting. In the midst of Seattle’s development surge, right-of-way permit rates have remained the same for 5 years. This has led to deferred service enhancements and backlogs as Street Use Permit Services now reviews and inspects approximately 32,000 permit uses per year. The new rate model follows many months of outreach, assessment, and modeling to address our city’s rapid growth and increasing construction density.
In the new rate structure, most construction use projects will save money. For example, small projects commonly include at least Use Codes 31, 44, and 47—at $146 per use. With the new project/service-based approach, the same project would pay a single $305 base permit fee covering multiple use types.
Projects that plan ahead will most likely pay less, getting review and inspection services for multiple uses under one project permit. We are also reducing the permit fee for residential-dumpster and portable-moving-container permits, saving homeowners money. Plus, inspections for those permits will now be discretionary, only occurring if a problem warrants inspection.
Updating the SDOT Street Use hourly service rate also gives us the opportunity to improve technology, staff levels, and efficiencies based on service needs. The first week of January alone saw a 206% increase in the number of permits issued in 2016 versus the same week in 2015. Recovering the true cost of meeting that level of need translates into better service for you. The new rate structure goes into effect March 31, 2016.