State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Code

See also: Land Use / Master Use Permit - State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)Environmentally Critical Areas (ECA) Code

What Is It?

Our State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) ordinance requires that we assess the environmental impacts of projects that meet certain criteria. The SEPA section of our Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) is based on the provisions of the State Environmental Policy Act in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

If SEPA is required for your project, we will do the review as part of the land use permit process.

Read the Code

Recent Changes

SEPA Changes to Promote Housing Effective July 23, 2023

Seattle has made considerable progress in planning for housing growth in both its comprehensive plan and land use codes. In recognition of that progress, the Washington State Legislature has amended the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) to help reach those goals by expediting the review of development that includes housing. As of July 23, 2023, most projects proposing additional housing units are exempt from SEPA review, including several types of residential and mixed-use developments that would have previously undergone SEPA review. This SEPA change does not affect other SDCI discretionary approvals, such as Design Review, that may be required for specific proposals. This SEPA amendment will be in effect until September 30, 2025.

Here are responses to some frequently asked questions.

SEPA Parking Amendments Effective January 20, 2023
On January 20, 2023, the state proposed SEPA related amendments removed parking as an element of the environment and revised the environmental checklist. As a result of new state law, SDCI will no longer identify and analyze parking impacts in its SEPA analysis. A new Environmental (SEPA) checklist is available on the SDCI forms page and required with submittal of a Master Use Permit for project proposals that require SEPA.

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.