AG 1082: Sign Permits

Updated 12/2021 

We offer a free, long-term, annually renewing permit that allows businesses and property owners to install and maintain signs, awnings, and graphics on buildings that project beyond the property line and into the public right-of-way. This permit covers the long-term occupation of your sign in the public right-of-way, and we'll work with you to also issue the construction permit needed for installation together with the Public Space Management (PSM) Sign Permit. For more details, read on! 

I want to learn more about...

Step 1: Confirming that this is the right permit for my project 
Step 2: How my sign will be installed
Step 3: Applying for my permit! 
Step 4: The application review & decision process
Step 5: Permit issuance, installation, and inspection 
Step 6: Permit renewal and maintenance 


Step 1: Confirming that this is the right permit for my project 

Projecting Signs and Awnings:  

  • Sign, Awning, and Canopy Permit with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI).
  • If your sign will extend beyond the private property line, check the box on the SDCI application that indicates you have a sign in public right-of-way.  
  • If your awning will include a business name or any graphics other than the street address, and it will extend beyond the private property line, check the box on the SDCI application that indicates you have a sign in public right-of-way. 
  • When you check the box on the SDCI application, this will automatically create a PSM sign permit application. There is no need to apply separately for the SDOT permit.  
  • We recommend uploading all documents needed for our review when you submit the SDCI permit application. The documents you upload to the SDCI application will be transferred over to your PSM application that is automatically created. See Step 3 below for submittal requirements.

When is a PSM sign permit not required for awnings?  

  • If your awning will display no graphics or only street address graphics, then you do NOT need an SDOT Public Space Management sign permit for the awning. In this case, do NOT check the box on the SDCI application indicating you have a sign in the right-of-way (your awning may be in right-of-way, but it is not considered a sign).  

Portable Signs:  

  • A permit is not required for portable signs such as A-Frames, but the sign must follow the portable sign standards.  

Fixed Ground signs:

  • Fixed ground signs refer to signage installed at grade and are not a free, long-term permit. If your project includes a fixed ground sign, due to the impacts at grade signs may have to the pedestrian realm and mobility, we encourage you to design your project without fixed ground signs located on the public right-of-way.  

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Step 2: How my sign will be installed

Depending on the impacts to mobility and how you install the sign, a Construction Use in the Right-of-Way permit may be required to review the temporary impacts of construction related to the installation of your sign. A Construction Use in the Right-of-Way permit may not be required when:  

  • The sidewalk can remain open during installation.
  • Installers have an Annual Vehicle permit and their work meets all conditions and restrictions described in Client Assistance Memo 2108.

While this is a separate permit, we have combined the application and review process for the PSM long-term signage and Construction Use in the Right-of-Way permits; you no longer need to submit a separate Construction Use in the Right-of-Way permit application. We will review the plans and documents for your project under the PSM application. When the review for your project is completed, we will create the Construction Use in the Right-of-Way permit for you. If your project is approved, both SDOT permits will be ready to be issued at the same time.  

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Step 3: Applying for my permit! 

Did you check the box to create your SDOT Public Space Management sign permit when applying through SDCI? If so, we already have your application! 

If not, you can apply for our permit on the Seattle Services Portal.  

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 "Signage." 
  • Include in the project description the method of installation and the impact to mobility, for example, "sign will be installed using an 8' tall ladder and a 6' pedestrian clear zone will be maintained" or "sign will be installed using a scissor lift with a 6' pedestrian clear zone maintained"  

Required documents: 

At submittal: 

  • Site plan (template available here), including elevation 
  • Design proof(s) complete with size and colors
  • Letter of Authorization, if applying on behalf of the property/business owner
  • If a Right-of-Way Construction permit is needed, upload a Right of Way Impact Plan (ROWIP) per CAM 2116.
  • If your work will require an impact to mobility, upload a Traffic Control Plan (TCP) per CAM 2111. Impacts to mobility include any work on or impacting an arterial street or located within the High Impact Area or a City-designated Construction Hub

Prior to permit approval: 

  • Historic/Landmark District Certificate of Approval (if in an Historic District)  

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Step 4: The application review & decision process

  • 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.   

  • After our staff review is complete, we will either approve, approve with modifications, or (in rare cases) deny the application.  

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Step 5: Permit issuance, installation, and inspection

It's important to note that while the Sign Permit is free, there will be permit fees associated with the Construction Activity in the Right-of-Way permit due before issuance.  

Once your permit is issued, it will be uploaded to the Seattle Services Portal. You should review the permit and approved documents. Then you are ready to install! Inspections may occur to ensure installation meets our approved permit and plan. Inspections by the ROW Construction inspectors will be billed to you. 

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Step 6: Permit renewal and maintenance 

This is a free, long-term, annually renewable permit. If there are any changes you would like to make, you can submit a request through the Seattle Services Portal.  You are responsible for maintaining your permitted uses. All uses of public right-of-way may be subject to inspection. 

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