The city owns the property under, on and above roadways and sidewalks, usually extending 10 to 20 feet beyond the roadway pavement. The right of way often extends well into what appears to be private property. Public assets within the right of way may include the roadway, curb, gutter, sidewalks, vegetation, sewer and water lines, telephone, power and other utility infrastructure.
When is a permit necessary?
Permit required: The city requires a permit for any activity that disrupts traffic, restricts access or modifies any infrastructure within the right of way, or for any private use of the public right of way. Such activities include replacement of or modifications to driveways, placement of fences or rockeries in the right of way; temporary placement of industrial trash bins; parking moving vans or other vehicles in restricted parking areas; and block parties. Utility and construction companies are required to obtain permits for all work within the right of way.
Assistance available: The Right of Way Use Division of the Transportation Department, in coordination with the city's Development Services Department, can assist in the early stages of planning to help determine if a right of way use permit is necessary. It can also advise about problems that may be encountered or revisions needed to meet city codes or other regulations. If a permit is required, submit your application at least two weeks prior to your desired project/event start date.
Call before you dig: Digging more than a foot deep in the public right of way, even to plant a shrub, may encounter power lines or other utilities. In addition to the obvious life-safety concerns, there may be liability for damage to any utility encountered. CALL 1-800-424-5555 BEFORE YOU DIG. It's the law.
Types of Right of Way Use Permits