Seattle Municipal Code
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I read a code reference such as 23.47A.008.A?










How do I locate an exact Seattle Municipal Code section?

Options A & B: Using a search

Navigate to the SMC search page as below (


Option A: Using the "Code Section Number" search box

Example: 23.84A.001.B.1

1.Enter the code number. Only enter the title, the chapter, and the section number. Do not include any subsection numbers after the section number. For example, if you have a citation for 23.84A.001.B.1 (or it may be written, 23.84A.001(B)(1)), you would exclude "B.1" from your search.

Enter:  23.84A.001

2. Click on the "Submit Query" button.
3. Locate and click the link to 23.84A.001 section title.
4. Scroll down within the text of the section to locate subsection B1.


Option B: Using the "Word in Text of Code" search box

Example: 23.84A.001.B.1

1. Enter the code number using parentheses for references after the section number.
Enter:  23.84A.001.B.1
2. Click on the "Submit Query" button.
3. Locate and click the link to 23.84A.001 section title.
4. Scroll down to locate subsection B1.

Note that this search will capture sections that refer to 23.84A.001, as well as the section itself.


Option C: Using the Table of Contents

Navigate to the SMC table of contents page as below (, and drill down to the section you want.


How do I search the SMC when I don't know the section number?

Using the "Words in Text of Code" search box:

1. Enter the keyword or phrase you would like to search for.
2. Click the "Submit Query" button.
3. The search results page will display the number of documents that matched your   
    search terms.
4. Click the text of the section number listed.
5. Use the arrow buttons to navigate in the list of search results.

How do I refine my search?

The City Clerk's Office provides Tips on Searching that can be applied to the SMC database.


How do I navigate through the search results?

See Navigational Icon Help.


What does it mean if a chapter or section is "reserved"?

Sometimes a chapter or section number or range of numbers is reserved to allow for future sections to be inserted, or to avoid renumbering entire series when a section is deleted. In these cases, there is no missing material. If you have a reference to a section or chapter that appears to be missing or is now "reserved," you may search for the section number in the Council Bills and Ordinance Index to find the ordinance that deleted that section.


What does the Ordinance (Ord.) Number referenced at the bottom of an SMC section mean?

The list of ordinances at the end of each SMC section includes all legislation that amended that particular SMC section. The very last ordinance listed is the ordinance that created the section.

Each ordinance number is followed by the relevant ordinance section number (the section of the ordinance that made the amendment) and the year the ordinance passed.  

For example, see the list in parentheses at the bottom of SMC 2.04.010:

This SMC section was last amended by Section 1 of Ordinance 123070, in 2009. Section 3 of Ordinance 123011 also amended the same SMC section in 2009. And, the section was originally created by Section 2 of Ordinance 106653, in 1977.


How do I locate ordinances that amended a particular section?

As shown in the above example, the ordinance references at the end of each code section show you the legislative history of the section, indicating when and how a portion of the Code was amended and adopted. Those ordinances that are available in full text online are highlighted as hyperlinks. Older ordinances (generally pre-1996) are available from the City Clerk's Office.


How do I view the text of ordinances?

Legislation introduced by the Council after 1996, is available in full text in the City Clerk's Office Council Bill/Ordinance Index  (

Most legislation introduced before 1996 is not available online but you may view it on microfiche in our office.

If you are unable to visit the Clerk's Office, you may request a copy or scan be made for you by Clerk staff. Scans and copies provided by the Office of the City Clerk are subject to copy fees, and the timing of service is dependent on the availability of staff.

Visit us at:
Office of the City Clerk
City Hall
600 4th Avenue, Floor 3
PO Box 94728
Seattle, Washington 98124-4728
The Clerk's Office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call us at:
Phone: (206) 684-8344   
Fax: (206) 386-9025
E-mail us at:


How do I print a whole chapter?

To print an entire chapter:

1. Navigate to the Seattle Municipal Code
Table of Contents
2. Locate the Title and click on the selected Title to drill down to the Chapter level
3. Find and click on the desired Chapter.

4. Locate and click on the link displaying the Title and Chapter number (here, 4.04).
5. Review the entire Chapter before printing. Please note that some chapters are lengthy.
6. Use your browser's print function to print the chapter displayed.


How do I get a copy of the entire SMC?

There is no quick way to print the entire SMC from our website. You can, however, print sections or chapters of the SMC.

If you wish to purchase a copy of the entire SMC, please contact Municipal Code Corporation at (850) 576-3171 or at


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