1.4 Departmental Roles and Responsibilities

Many City of Seattle departments are involved with permitting, building and maintaining the right-of-way. SDOT works with SDCI to review street improvements required of adjacent developments. SDOT reviews development at the early stages to advise on transportation impacts, and informs developers of right-of-way or transportation-related requirements as well as strategic priorities and plans. SDOT will inform the Design Review Board of transportation-related concerns. The following departments have a regulatory and permitting role with regard to the street right-of-way in Seattle:

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) plans for, builds, maintains and operates Seattle’s $20 billion transportation infrastructure. To further the goal to get Seattle moving, the department manages short- and long-term transportation investments that connect the City with the region. SDOT’s mission is to deliver a safer and reliable transportation system that enhances Seattle’s environment and economic vitality. SDOT is responsible for building, operating and maintaining transportation facilities in the street right-of-way. SDOT also reviews and issues permits to manage the use of the street right-of-way, including permitting improvements to the street infrastructure constructed or identified for protection during the implementation of permitted project construction by developers and others agencies. City of Seattle Inspectors are responsible for enforcing the Ordinances; City Specifications; and the Street and Sidewalk Right of Way Opening and Restoration Rules. This is to ensure that all construction, safety, and accessibility requirements of a permit are met as approved.

The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) develop, administer, and enforce standards for land use, design, construction, and housing within Seattle city limits. With regard to the right of way, SDCI reviews the scope of street improvements required of adjacent development. SDCI also reviews and issues permits for new curb cuts, structural building overhangs, commercial signs, and any shoreline substantial development permits when required for work in the street right-of-way. SDCI also oversees the Design Review Board. SDOT provides input on transportation impacts through the SDCI permitting process.

The Seattle Office of Planning & Community Development (OPCD) is also responsible for long-range planning and community development. OPCD also oversees the Design Commission and the Planning Commission.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) provides more than 1.3 million customers in King County with a reliable water supply, as well as essential sewer, drainage, and solid waste services for the City of Seattle. To deliver these basic services, Seattle Public Utilities relies on a system of pipes, reservoirs, and disposal and recycling stations. In the street right-of-way, SPU is responsible for drainage facilities and conveyance systems, water facilities (e.g., hydrants) and solid waste services. SPU works with SDCI and SDOT to provide water quality certification, water availability certification, side sewer and drainage permit application review, and code compliance review.

Seattle City Light (SCL) works to sustain and enhance the community’s quality of life by providing excellent energy services to customers and to be the most customer-focused, competitive, efficient, innovative, environmentally responsible utility in the United States. In addition to its generating facilities, SCL is also responsible for building, operating, and maintaining its power transmission and distribution facilities in the street right-of-way in a fashion that is both safe and reliable. SCL is also charged with the responsibility of managing the use of space on its facilities. Customers wanting new or enlarged electrical services or wishing to attach their equipment to SCL’s facilities must contact SCL and secure written permissions in advance.

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is responsible for development, maintenance and operation of over 6,200 acres of property including numerous historic parks, boulevards, open spaces, and recreation facilities. These include community centers, swimming/wading pools, play areas/courts and ball fields. Certain city streets have been officially designated as park boulevards. In addition to providing typical transportation and street right-of-way functions and amenities, park boulevards provide scenic links throughout the city. Any development project on or adjacent to a park boulevard must be reviewed and approved by SPR, in addition to all other applicable review and approvals (Landmarks Board).

Seattle Fire Department responds to fire and medical emergencies, and is dependent upon the capability of the street network to handle traffic flows. The Fire Department reviews proposed street improvements, closures, etc. to identify potential negative impacts on response times. Private roads must be in accordance with Section 503 (Fire Apparatus Access Roads) and Appendix D of the Seattle Fire Code. Plans for building construction are routed from the Department of Planning and Development to the Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division for review of fire apparatus access and other fire code related issues.

Department of Neighborhoods (DON) works to connect community members with each other and city government. They provide resources and opportunities for community members to improve their quality of life. Historic Preservation Program oversees Seattle’s historic preservation program. The program’s primary objectives are to encourage the rehabilitation and reuse of historic properties for public and private use; to promote the recognition, protection and enhancement of landmark buildings, objects and sites of historic, architectural and cultural significance in Seattle; and, to identify, protect, preserve and perpetuate the cultural, economic, historical and architectural qualities of historic landmarks and districts throughout the city.