Peas and carrots. Coffee and cream. Copy and paste – they go together, just like…shall we dare say, Seattle and construction😆(this won’t always be the case), and for good reason! We’re ranked as one of top ten cities for cool factor, best places to live, and public transportation! It’s not a wonder why we’re the fastest-growing big city with the highest transit use in the country. On any given day, there’re over 55 people moving in, creating a demand for (smart growth) housing, work, and infrastructure.
Construction. It’s like springtime flowers! 🌷🌷🌷
Construction often impacts our daily, more specifically, private property, public streets, and sidewalks. As construction projects pop up like springtime flowers, we dig deeper to find ways to improve how we coordinate with projects when it comes to permitting.
In the world of permitting:
- Construction on private property is issued through the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI).
- Projects in the street right-of-way are issued by our SDOT’s Street Use division.
Many times, a large development project will need permits from both departments.
So how do we coordinate?
In 2016, we created a Development Review program team that gives guidance to developers during the early design stages of their projects to better align development activities with public interests, the City’s priorities, and design requirements for public streets.
We start coordinating before anyone breaks ground and as a result, we’re able to anticipate project conflicts and maximize public bennies! This helps us eliminate challenges that we all face during periods of heavy construction. Working with developers early on helps us to make sure transportation-related requirements are met, allowing you to safely and easily navigate the city (with minimal to no annoyances).
We conducted surveys in 2016 and 2017 to gain insight on what you liked and how we could improve the program. Results are in and in short, you told us that participating in the Development Review program added value to your projects! This makes us feel:
- 35% (up from 10%) of you said the Development Review guidance is very useful and 40% said it was somewhat useful.
- One person said, “This program is one of the very best initiatives I’ve seen at SDOT in 35 years.” We’re so excited to hear it!
- We received suggestions to improve clarity, transparency, and communications with participants.
We’re listening & improving!
We took in everything you had to say and we’ve already started making changes by documenting every step of the Development Review process to make sure that our guidance and communication is clear from beginning to end. We’re also regularly meeting with the SDCI team to identify conflicts and to make sure we’re crossing our ‘t’s and dotting the lower case ‘j’s (think Wayne’s World), basically making sure we’re on it when it comes to coordination. As Seattle grows and develop, so will our program, and we’ll continue to work with our you to ensure our program provides the best service possible in 2018.