AG 1086: Long-Term Storage Permit

Updated 6/2022 

Overview

This is a long-term use, annually renewable permit that allows businesses and property owners to store materials in the public right-of-way. Material storage in the right-of-way is generally discouraged and cannot be allowed if there are mobility impacts to the public. Typically, material storage is proposed in Seattle’s industrial zones where there is inadequate space on private property to store materials and available right-of-way adjacent to the property. There are limitations on the type of materials allowed to be stored in the right-of-way. 

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Step 1: Consider if your proposed storage use is allowed 

Step 2: Collect the 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 long-term storage permit


Step 1: Consider if your proposed storage use is allowed 

Long-term material storage uses are only allowed when they are related to an adjacent business or property, and the right-of-way is needed for material storage because there isn’t adequate space on private property. This permit is typically issued to support industrial business uses and materials must be related to the adjacent business use. This permit does not allow for:

  • Storage of personal items not related to adjacent business
  • Storage or parking of vehicles, including parking for employees, fleet vehicles, or cars for sale 
  • Fences or walls without a storage use to just restrict public access to the right-of-way

We only allow activities directly related to the permitted material storage, such as loading, unloading, or securing non-hazardous materials. We do not allow commercial, industrial, or manufacturing activities or operations to occur in the right-of-way.  We do not allow activities that contribute pollutants to the ground, surface water and air. Prohibited activities include:

    • repair
    • maintenance
    • processing
    • mixing
    • manufacturing
    • fabricating
    • building
    • finishing
    • painting
    • coating
    • composting

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Step 2: Collect the required documents  

After you’ve confirmed you would like to apply, it’s time to collect the documents required to support your application!

  • Letter of Authorization (if different from applicant/property owner)
  • Site plan, meeting the requirements of CAM 2116 and clearly identifying the location and dimensions of the proposed material storage use
  • Site photos 
  • Written description of proposed material storage, including these details:
    • How materials are related to the business located on the adjacent private property
    • Why the proposed storage cannot be located on private property 
    • A list of each proposed material to be stored, including the following information for each material:
      • A description of material containment: fenced, stockpiled, plastic/metal containers, walled, etc.
        • If fenced or walled, also provide details for the proposed structure.
      • A description of material coverage: covered, opened, indoors, etc.
      • A description of ground surface: concrete, asphalt, gravel, dirt, water, etc.
      • A description of drainage system: piped, contained, catch basins, none, etc. 

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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 “Long-Term Material Storage.” 

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Step 4: Application review, fees and decision 

Depending on the complexity of the project, the review time can take up to 8 weeks or more. You can check the status of your permit online through the Seattle Service Portal. We will review the application and may contact you either to request additional information or to request corrections.  

For storage where construction activity is proposed, a Right-of-Way Construction Use permit may also be required. This permit covers the temporary right-of-way impacts of activities related to the installation/construction of your material storage use. While this is a separate permit, we do not require a separate application and will review and issue both permits together. If Right-of-Way Construction Use permit is required, we will notify you of additional review documents that need to be submitted. 
 
Prior to issuance, we will prepare an Indemnity Agreement document and send to you with instructions for recording with the King County Recorder. The agreement will be recorded against the title of the property associated with the long-term storage use.  

Issuance and occupation 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 will be uploaded to the Seattle Services Portal. You should review the permit and approved documents. Your permit will include an approved site plan indicating the location and dimensions for your allowed storage area. 

Our long-term material storage permits also include special permit conditions known as stormwater management best management practices (BMPs.) The purpose of these is to reduce the amount of pollutants carried in stormwater runoff (the rain or snowmelt that flows over rooftops, paved and unpaved roads, and land) and discharged to nearby lakes and streams. 

The City of Seattle holds a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Stormwater Permit from the Washington State Department of Ecology. Ecology has been delegated by the EPA to manage the NPDE Program (part of the Clean Water Act) to protect stormwater quality in the state of Washington. We require stormwater management BMPs as part of our municipal stormwater permit obligations. 

We will perform an inspection after your permit is issued to ensure installation complies with 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 long-term storage permit 

Long-term material storage permits are renewed yearly. The annual fees cover a one-year period, and our permitting system will renew the permit if it is in good standing.  

You are expected to maintain the long-term material storage according to your approved plan and permit, including all permit conditions and best management practices (BMPs) for stormwater.  We will perform yearly inspections to ensure ongoing compliance. The cost for these inspections is included in your annual fees. 

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, you must completely remove all storage material from public right-of-way, or the new owner must apply for a new Long-term storage permit. In the application, note “transfer of ownership” in the project description field.  

Also, it is important to understand that Long-Term Material Storage 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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