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Special use permits

A dirt path runs along the shore at Maury Island Marine Park

Hey neighbor!

Are you a neighbor of public land owned by King County Parks? King County Parks stewards 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 28,000 acres of open space. These lands are our community's natural treasures and as steward, King County Parks is responsibly for protecting these assets now and for future generations for the benefit and use by the public. King County Parks seeks to work with neighbors and others property owners to clarify boundaries and promote the appropriate use of our public lands.

What is a Special Use Permit and when do I need one?

While private use of Parks’ property is generally not allowed, it may be authorized in limited cases via a Special Use Permit. A Special Use Permit grants permission to occupy and use Parks’ properties for a fee. Per King County Code title 14.30, King County reserves the right to grant or deny these requests for private, non-park use of Parks’ property.

Some examples when a Special Use Permit may be granted:

  • Do you need to cross King County Parks’ property to access your property?
  • Do you have utilities or need to install utilities on King County Parks’ property to serve your property?
  • Do you want to temporarily use King County Parks’ property to provide construction access to your property?

How do I know where the property boundaries are?

Boundaries along Parks’ property, especially regional trails and undeveloped open spaces, are often difficult to locate. Most boundaries of Parks-owned properties are not easily discernible on site. Fences, landmarks, plat maps, utility lines, and roadways do not always reflect current ownership. King County’s iMap is a free tool available to look up property boundaries and ownership near public lands. You can search property information by entering an address or parcel number. Even with this tool, a survey may be necessary to determine property boundaries.

How to apply

Before you apply for a Special Use Permit, contact Parks to discuss the scope of your proposed use of public land. A free, pre-submittal review is required for proposals along rail corridors, regional trails, or near critical areas.

To apply for a Special Use Permit, you will need to submit the following:

  • your application
  • a $500 non-refundable processing fee
  • any necessary supporting documents

You can access the application form and other instructions at the Real Estate Services Division website.

How much does it cost to apply?

The application fee is $500 and is non-refundable. In most cases, a use fee and technical review fee may apply, depending on the proposed use of Parks’ property.

How long does it take to get a Special Use Permit?

It typically takes 8-10 weeks from the date you submitted your application, though complex proposals may require additional review time.