Updated: February 6, 2019

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) takes great pride in taking care of the park property that we all share. As stewards of public land, we are committed to removing private encroachments on park land and restoring all publicly-owned park land for public use and enjoyment.  

An encroachment is any unauthorized private property or use that overlaps onto public park property. In our experience, most of these encroachments were not maliciously created by property owners, but are often just a lack of knowledge about property lines.  

SPR is working in Seattle neighborhoods via the Encroachment Resolution Program schedule. You may receive a notice in the mail with a depiction of your neighborhood showing the approximate area of encroachment resolution work.    

Current Encroachment Resolution Work

Burke-Gilman Trail 4

  • Timeline
  • Documents
  • Links

Encroachment FAQs

What is an encroachment?

An encroachment is the unlawful private use of public land.  This can consist of any unauthorized construction, planting, installation or any other unauthorized alteration made to City of Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) property by non-park personnel.  An encroachment can also be the unauthorized removal of or damage to SPR property, including any trees or vegetation, or the unauthorized dumping of any material on SPR property. Any work to be conducted on park property by non-park personnel requires a Revocable Use Permit (RUP).   

Why do encroachments matter?

Encroachments matter because Seattle's 6,000+ acres of parks are held in trust for the permanent enjoyment of the public, and anything that privatizes parkland for individual use, or even makes it appear to be private is unfair to the larger community.  Seattle's rapidly increasing population have made every square foot of our parks more vital to our daily quality of life.      

What is the process to remove encroachments?

Contact a Seattle Parks & Recreation Real Property Agent at (206) 684-4860 or miriam.rose@seattle.gov for guidance on how to obtain a Revocable Use Permit (RUP) for permission to conduct work on park property to remedy the encroachment(s). Or go to this page to download a permit application and read more about the RUP process at our website.     

What if the encroachment already existed when I acquired my property?

If the encroachment was in existence when you purchased your home, the abatement of that unauthorized use and the restoration of park property is unfortunately still your responsibility. As the party currently benefitting from that encroachment or unauthorized use it is your obligation to remove the encroachment, even though you did not install or create it.      

How much will it cost me?

It will cost $200 for the Revocable Use Permit application fee plus any expenses you incur to restore the formerly encroached-upon area to Seattle Parks and Recreation standards once the permit has been issued.         

How long will it take to obtain the permit?  

Depending on the scope of the work necessary to restore the land, it generally takes 4 - 6 weeks for the permit to be issued after a fully completed application is received by SPR.          

Why now for encroachments?

In 2014 Seattle voters passed The Metropolitan Park District and directed SPR to increase our efforts remove encroachments on public park property.  This priority was included in response to community requests for the City to reclaim park land usurped by private unauthorized uses. The Initiative funded permanent staff specifically for encroachment resolution.         

What will happen to this property once it is returned to SPR?

After the property is restored to SPR's requirements, our department will treat it as we do the adjacent park property in accordance with our standards and overall management plans for the specific park.  Some parks are intended to be natural areas while others are carefully landscaped, and all are part of SPR's citywide long-range plans. 

How do I report an encroachment?

If you see a suspected park encroachment, please report it to Miriam Rose, Real Property Agent at (206) 684-4860 or miriam.rose@seattle.gov to report an encroachment or go to [insert link] to use our online reporting form. Provide as much detail as possible to help us locate and address the encroachment you are reporting including the address, photos, a description of what you have observed, and whether the unauthorized activity is ongoing.  You may choose to report an encroachment anonymously, if you wish.     

Whom do I contact about my case?  

Contact Miriam Rose, Real Property Agent at (206) 684-4860 or miriam.rose@seattle.gov for information about your case.  

Parks and Recreation

AP Diaz, Interim Superintendent
Mailing Address: 100 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA, 98109
Phone: (206) 684-4075
Fax: (206) 615-1813

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