AG 1084: Street Furniture

Last Update: 5/19/2022 

Street Furniture Public Amenity Permit 

A street furniture permit adds seating and decor to public places! Benches, planters, and lean rails are common examples of street furniture. If you are interested in placing tables and chairs on the sidewalk, check out our Tables & Chairs Applicant Guide!

Ready to apply? Follow the below steps! 

I want to learn more about...

Step 1: Reviewing guidelines 

Step 2: Drawing your site plan

Step 3: Apply online!

Step 4: Application Review & Decision

Step 5: Permit Issuance and Inspection  

Step 6: Installation & Maintenance


Step 1: Reviewing guidelines  

The Basics 

Street furniture is usually located in the frontage zone (against the building, see the legend and graphic below) or the furniture zone (next to the parking, where trees and parking meters are located, see the graphic below). See Streets Illustrated for definitions and additional graphics depicting the sidewalk zones.  

Graphic of a building, curb space with cars, and sidewalk space

Street Furniture Placement

Frontage Zone
Curbspace
Furniture Zone
Pedestrian Clear Zone (*The width of the pedestrian clear zone is based on street types (6'-8'), as established by the Right-of-Way Improvements Manual or successor rule.)
Pedestrian Straight Path (* The pedestrian straight path cannot have sharp or jagged turns and should be a minimum of 3'.)

Siting Details 

Pedestrian Clear Zone & Straight Path
When deciding where to site (i.e., place) street furniture, it’s important to make sure there will be adequate space for people walking. We require an 8-foot pedestrian clear zone on Downtown Street sidewalks (as defined by Streets Illustrated) and a 6-foot pedestrian clear zone on all other sidewalks. You can find your street type by using the Streets Illustrated Street Type map! You need to consider the footprint of your street furniture “in operation” (i.e., with people sitting on it) when determining your pedestrian clear zone.

In addition, we want to make sure that the pedestrian travel path is straight and does not have sharp or jagged turns. 

Here’s a figure to help visualize pedestrian clear zone and straight path requirements: 

Street Furniture, next to a building, curbspaces with cars, and a sidewalk

Setbacks

Review Streets Illustrated 3.3 for clearance requirements that are applicable to your street furniture proposal. Street furniture may not conflict with the operation, maintenance, visibility, or functionality of any utilities or other street fixtures. When located in the furniture zone, street furniture cannot be adjacent to bus zones, transit zones, commercial vehicle loading zones, or designated food-vehicle zones.  

back


Step 2: Drawing your site plan

Based on the requirements in Step 1, prepare a site plan (see Section B of CAM 2116 for details on site plan requirements). Your site plan needs to identify your proposed street furniture as well as right-of-way features with dimensions. If you are going through SIP review, it may be helpful to have a stand-alone page showing the proposed street furniture clearly labeled to show all the proposed elements to be reviewed and maintained under the Public Space Management long-term public amenity permit.  

back


Step 3: Apply online! 

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" record type.   
  • When prompted, to input “Use Code Description,” choose “Public Amenity.”  

Please upload the following documents with your application: 

  • Site plan from Step 2, including elevation, details, and manufacturer's specifications as necessary
  • Photos or images of proposed street furniture, if available 

Before we can issue your permit, we’ll also need:  

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

back


Step 4: Application Review & Decision 

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. 

Your Long-Term permit from Public Space Management allows your proposed structure to exist in the right-of-way (ROW). When construction activity is proposed, however, a Right-of-Way Construction permit may also be required. We will review your application and determine if a ROW Construction permit is triggered, and if so, we will likely identify and notify you of additional review documents that need to be submitted. While this is a separate permit, we do not require a separate application and will review and issue both permits together. After our staff review is complete, we will either approve, approve with modifications, or (in rare cases) deny the application.  

In rare cases, we may identify that an indemnity agreement is required for significant street furniture installations. If that is required, your reviewer will draft an agreement that you need to record at King County Records prior to your permit issuance. 

back


Step 5: Permit Issuance and Inspection  

Once we issue your permit, it will be uploaded to the Seattle Services Portal. You should review the permit and approved documents. Then you are ready to set up your street furniture.  

Make sure you place furniture according to your approved site plan and let us know if you have any questions by emailing us at publicspace@seattle.gov. An inspector will visit the site to confirm the street furniture placement conforms to the approved permit and plan. 

back


Step 6: Installation & Maintenance 

Street furniture permits are a free, long-term, annually renewable permit, so you are expected to maintain the furniture as long as it is in the right-of-way. If there are any changes you want to make, you can request changes through the Seattle Services Portal.  

back