Land Use / Master Use Permit - Plat

What Is It?

Platting is a process used to create or modify individual parcels of property. You need to submit a platting land use application for a:

  • Lot boundary adjustment - changes the location of an existing property line between two or more parcels of land. The SDCI Director conducts this review after other City departments provide input, but there is no public notice or appeal.
  • Short subdivision - a platting process that creates up to 9 parcels. A short subdivision is a type of Master Use Permit that has a public comment period, a review and decision by the Director of SDCI, and an appeal process.  
  • Full subdivision - a platting process that creates 10 or more parcels. A full subdivision is a type of land use action that has a public comment period, a review and written recommendation by the Director of SDCI, and an Open Record Hearing followed by a preliminary plat decision by the City Hearing Examiner. The City Council makes the final acceptance of the plat. 
  • Platting of unit lots - a subdivision that creates unit lots divides land only for the purpose of selling single-family houses, townhouses, and rowhouses, but does not create separate legal building sites. Unit lot subdivisions may be created by either a short or full subdivision process, depending on the number of unit lots created. Unit lot subdivision must be preceded by a land use or construction permit approving a specific residential development.

We require electronic applications for all platting projects. You can use the Seattle Services Portal to submit your application materials.

How Much Does it Cost?

We charge an hourly review fee based on our Fee Subtitle. You need to pay a minimum fee when you submit your land use application. After we accept your application, we will send you a monthly invoice for all review time completed in that billing cycle. If you do not pay your invoice, we will stop reviewing your project. All fees are subject to an additional technology fee. See our Fee Subtitle for details.

How Long Does It Take?

A lot boundary adjustment or short subdivision will take several months for our review and a decision. A full subdivision will take well over 6 months. Exactly how long it takes us to review your project depends on how complex it is. The time it takes us to review your project depends on:

  • Complexity of your proposal
  • Whether environmental review is required
  • The quality of your plans and project documentation
  • Timely response to correction letters and requests for further information
  • Public interest

Steps to Get Your Permit

Find your property information. Research your site to help you plan your project.

Determine other requirements for your project. Research the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) to determine standards that will apply to your proposal.

Attend a coaching session. We offer virtual paid coaching and pre-submittal conferences for Land Use Code and project assistance through our Applicant Services Center.

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to answer questions about your proposal and upload a site plan. You'll receive an email once we have added the pre-application site visit (PASV) fees to your project. (Most projects require a PASV.) After you have paid the fee, we will perform the site visit. Your preliminary application information will be reviewed by other departments for comment.

You should apply for a building permit or master use permit for constructing residential units before applying for a unit lot subdivision.

Review your preliminary application report. You will receive a preliminary application report that will include critical information about whether you need Design Review, SEPA, or street improvements. Our report will include information from the utilities about your specific site and proposal. We recommend you work with City Light early in your project to determine what electrical service requirements will be after your plat is complete. Our report will also identify potential project stoppers.

Request a pre-submittal conference. We recommend pre-submittal conferences for very complex projects, including work in environmentally critical areas or shorelines, and full subdivisions. You must pay a minimum two hour pre-submittal conference fee before we schedule your appointment. We might charge additional hourly fees based on the number of City staff attending the conference, and the amount of follow-up time required.

Apply for exemptions. You may be eligible for exemptions from code or permitting requirements if your project is located in an environmentally critical area or near the shoreline. You need to apply for and resolve any exemption requests during the preliminary application process before you submit your permit application. Submit your exemption requests using the Seattle Services Portal.

Coordinate with other agencies. You may need permits or approvals from other agencies. These are the most common agencies you may need to work with for your permit type:

Prepare your survey and supporting documents. You may need to upload technical documents including geotechnical and wetland reports, zoning analysis of existing structures that will remain and of proposed structures, 75/80 lot area calculations, and other types of reports. Our Tips and code standards provide additional detail on the type of documents we require to review your proposal.

Be sure to follow the plan and survey requirements and processes outlined in Tip 213A, Application Requirements for Short Subdivisions, and Tip 213B, Application Requirements for Lot Boundary Adjustments.

Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an intake appointment using the Seattle Services Portal. You must upload all application documents by 7:00 a.m. on the day of your appointment. You do not need to be onsite during your intake appointment. However, you do need to be available for questions. We may call or email you on your appointment day for more information.

Pay fees. You must pay a minimum fee for your review, any accrued land use hourly fees, and intake and noticing fees at intake. You will receive an email once we have added fees to your project. You must pay using your portal before we will post any public notice or conduct any reviews. We will invoice you monthly for additional fees during the review process. We will stop reviewing your project if you do not pay your monthly invoice.

Wait for public notice. We will issue a public notice for your project as required by SMC 23.76.012. If required, you are responsible for building and installing a large environmental public notice sign. (This sign must remain in place until the end of the appeal period or the Hearing Examiner decision, if applicable.) Once you've installed the sign, let us know by submitting an Environmental Sign Installation Notification using the Seattle Services Portal.

We'll consider all public comments we receive during our review and before we publish our decision.

Make corrections and resubmit your documents. Once all of our reviews are done, you will receive an email telling you that corrected or additional documents can be uploaded into your portal. Your project may require multiple correction rounds before our reviews are complete.

Pay outstanding fees. Once our review is complete, you will get an email for any outstanding fees. You must pay these fees in your portal before we publish our decision.

Read our decision or recommendation. We will publish our decision on your short plat in our public notice section of the Seattle Services Portal. We will also send a notice of our decision to you and everybody that submitted a public comment on your project. Our decision will include any required conditions of approval, some that you must meet before we issue your permit.

Lot boundary adjustments do not require public notice. You will receive notice of our decision and next steps through your Seattle Services Portal.

Submit an appeal. If you or a member of the public disagree with our decision, you or they may file an appeal with the Seattle Hearing Examiner within 14 days from when we publish our decision. You may not appeal our decision for lot boundary adjustment to the Hearing Examiner.

Attend the public hearing. The Seattle Hearing Examiner will hold a public hearing for our recommendation on your full subdivision, along with any appeals on your project. The Hearing Examiner will also issue a preliminary plat decision.

Get a final review and record your final plat. You need to prepare your final plat to be recorded at King County Recorders Office. When you prepare your documents for recording, check with the King County Recorders’ office to ensure the final platting documents meet the King County formatting requirements. Consult Tip 213A, Application Requirements for Short Subdivisions, and Tip 213B, Application Requirements for Lot Boundary Adjustments, to ensure your final platting documents meet the final plat requirements. 

SDCI performs a final review of the paper survey before submitting it for recording at King County. Your survey should include all corrections made to date and should include notarized signatures of all property owners.

Submit your final plat applications for full subdivisions to the Seattle Department of Transportation for their review and for City Council's eventual acceptance.

Pay final fees. We will notify you by email if you need to pay any final fees in your portal before we issue your permit.

Print your permit. We will notify you when we have issued your permit and the documents are available in your portal.

You may apply for a construction permit at any time once you submit a land use application. The development sites shown on your permit application need to reflect the new sites as shown on the platting action. The project can change and evolve through the land use application review process. Corrections required by our decision may require building plan changes that can result in costly design changes.

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.