AG 1088: Private Utility Infrastructure

Updated: 06/2022 

Private Utility Permit Process Overview: 

This is a long term, annually renewable permit that allows businesses and property owners to site private utility infrastructure in the right-of-way. All private utility infrastructure either partially or fully in the right-of-way requires a Long-Term permit from our Public Space Management team.  

For private utility infrastructure where construction activity is proposed, a Right-of-Way Utility permit may also be required. This permit covers the temporary right-of-way impacts of activities related to the installation/construction of your private utility infrastructure. While this is a separate permit, we do not require a separate application and will review and issue both permits together. 

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Step 1: Consider if your proposed private utility infrastructure is allowed 

Step 2: Collect required documents 

Step 3: Apply for the permit

Step 4: Application review, fees, and decision

Step 5: Permit issuance and initial inspection  

Step 6: Maintaining your PSM Long Term Use permit


Step 1: Consider if your proposed private utility infrastructure is allowed 

We discourage private utility infrastructure being placed in the public right-of-way. If possible, you should design your project to keep private utility infrastructure on private property. We want to make sure you know that PSM Long Term Use permits are temporary in nature and may be revoked in the future. 

Examples of private utility infrastructure we may consider permitting include: 

  • Commercial building HVAC exhaust or intake ducts
  • Stormwater drainage components
  • Curb weep boxes
  • Aerial or underground cables between buildings (typically for communications)
  • Transformers
  • Access hatches, handholes, and vaults
  • Underground injection wells
  • Graywater collection and distribution systems
  • Grease traps
  • Monitoring systems
  • Environmental treatment systems (gas or leachate collection, groundwater, or soil treatment equipment)
  • Electrical outlets or lighting that does not qualify as a public amenity use 

We do not require private utility infrastructure permits for franchise utilities, telecommunication cabinets, decorative water features, or services/meters from public utilities. 

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Step 2: Collect required documents 

At submittal 
  • Letter of Authorization (Required if the Applicant or Financially Responsible Party (FRP) contact is different from the Owner contact, such as if you want the architect or designer to serve as the applicant or FRP) 
  • Site plan meeting the requirements of CAM 2116 and clearly identifying the location and dimensions of the proposed private utility infrastructure
  • For installations requiring construction for installation activity, you will also need:
    • Right-of-Way Impact Plan (ROWIP) per CAM 2116
    • Traffic Control Plan (TCP) per CAM 2111 
Due at Review Evaluation 
  • Based on time during the year or location of the proposed construction work, you may also need:
  • Temporary No Parking Confirmation (for paid parking areas)
  • Additional Letter of Authorization, if needed 
    • A separate LOA form is required for each permit application if the applicant and/or FRP is different from the owner. For example, an LOA is required if you will have a contractor serving as the applicant or FRP on your Utility permit. 

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Step 3: Apply for the permit    

When you are ready to apply, head to the Seattle Services Portal.    
 
Note: If you've never used the Portal before, you'll need to register and set up an account first. See this helpful article or video on how to do this.  
 
Once you are logged in, follow the steps below:   

  • Under "Create New" select "Permits-Street Use"   
  • Navigate to and select the "Long Term Use" and "Private Structures/Uses" record type.    
  • When prompted to input “Use Code Description,” choose “Private Utilities.”  

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Step 4: Application review, fees, and decision

 Depending on the complexity of the project, the review time can take 8 weeks or more. You can check the status of your permit online through the Seattle Service Portal. Read more about our Street Use Permit Process and how to check on status here. You can also find current Street Use permitting timelines here.  
 
We will review the application and may contact you either to request additional information or to request corrections. For responding to corrections, read our help article (including a video on how to upload documents). 
 
For private utility infrastructure where construction activity is proposed, a Right-of-Way Utility permit may also be required. This permit covers the temporary right-of-way impacts of activities related to the installation/construction of your private utility infrastructure. While this is a separate permit, we do not require a separate application and will review and issue both permits together. If you haven’t submitted the documents required for that application initially, your reviewer will request additional documents during the review process.  
  
Prior to issuance, we will prepare an Indemnity Agreement document and send to you with instructions for notarization and recording with the King County Recorder. The agreement will be recorded against the title of the property associated with the long-term private utility use.   
 
Issuance fees are due once an application has been approved and must be paid before a permit is issued. The annual fees cover a one-year period, and our permitting system will renew the permit if it is in good standing. For detailed information, visit our page on How to Estimate and Pay Permit Fees.  

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Step 5: Permit issuance and initial inspection

Once your permit is issued, it’ll be uploaded to the Seattle Services Portal. You should review the permit and approved documents, paying close attention to the approved site plan and conditions.  Need help finding and printing your permit? Check out this help article
 
Remember that project notification is required for permits – check out CAM 2117 to ensure you properly notify affected parties ahead of any construction activity. 
 
Make sure you have non-paid or paid parking notification and permits per our Temporary No Parking Permits website if you need to use curb space for installation activities. 
 
We will perform an initial inspection to ensure installation meets the approved permit and plan. Inspections are billed at an hourly rate and will be invoiced separately from other permit fees.   

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Step 6: Maintaining your PSM Long Term Use permit

PSM Long Term Use permits are renewed yearly. The yearly permit fees include the renewal fee. See our Street Use Fee Schedule PDF on this page for more information. If the use is in good standing, our permitting system will automatically renew the permit and invoice the permittee.    
You are expected to maintain the permitted use according to your approved plan and permit, including complying with all permit conditions. We will conduct inspections to ensure the use remains as approved.   
 
Need to make changes? You can request a permit revision through our Seattle Services Portal.  
If there is change in business or property ownership and no change to the use, the new owner must apply for a new PSM Long Term permit. In the application, note “transfer of ownership” in the project description field.   
 
It’s important to understand that the PSM Long Term Use permits are temporary in nature and do not grant you permanent rights to occupy the public right of way. We may revoke permits pursuant to SMC 15.04.070. If a permit is revoked or terminated, the right-of-way shall be returned to its original condition. 

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