The Seattle Department of Transportation’s Street Use and Urban Forestry Division is preparing to launch the first in a series of improvements to better meet customer needs. Beginning February 10, customers will see more intuitive permit forms, as well as added permit technicians offering one-on-one guidance at the intake counter. It’s all part of a new customer-focused “Applicant Services” business model.
“Safety, mobility, and customer service are top priorities for the Seattle Department of Transportation,” said Interim Director Goran Sparrman. “Our new applicant-focused permitting process will allow the department to more seamlessly coordinate permit activities and better serve our customers.”
By providing active coaching and refined tools, the new business model will reduce wait times and lead to better prepared applicants. Customers can expect faster service and coaching will help new or infrequent customers.
The new permit technicians will provide individualized service based on lines of business (e.g., construction, utilities), helping customers prepare successful applications. At the same time, customers will begin using new color-coded permit forms that have been simplified to create a clear, easy to use system. All applicants will now complete a Street Use General Application before submitting project-specific attachments for Construction Use, Simple Utilities, Public Space Management, or Urban Forestry. In some instances, same-day permit service may not be possible, but customers will be increasingly aligned with one reviewer throughout the life of their project.
New forms for Street Improvement and Utility Major Permits will follow this spring. Also this spring, applicants initiating complex development projects will have the opportunity to schedule an appointment with a permit reviewer, rather than standing in line, which will help to expedite both counter and online service. Applicants play an important role in the new services model. By working closely with the permit technicians to complete application forms and develop requisite plan sets prior to meeting with review staff, wait times will be reduced significantly.
Later this year, additional improvements will be made to make applicant services increasingly mobile. Customers can expect to see streamlined online permitting and a reconfigured customer service area focused on improved flow; construction is anticipated this summer.
The permit counter is located on the 23rd floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower, at 700 Fifth Avenue, in downtown Seattle.