Customers with appointments can enter the Development Services Center at the City Operations Building using the third-floor bridge connected to the Evan V. Jones Parkade Terrace Level.

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Right-of-Way Permit

This permit is required for any work or privately owned encroachments proposed in the public right-of-way (ROW) or for the installation of any public improvements in the ROW. Projects that require a ROW permit include dry utilities, private utilities, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, sidewalk cafes. The approval of any work or privately owned encroachments proposed in the ROW will be subject to the satisfaction of the City Engineer, as considered in the permit reviews of the required ROW application/plans. For more information, please refer to San Diego Municipal Code PDF icon Chapter 12, Article 9, Division 7 (Right-of-Way Permits)


Plan Your Project

What You Should Know

The City offers three categories for a ROW Permit based on the scope of work:

  1. ROW – for all general ROW and public improvements
  2. ROW Dry-Utilities – for all communications, 5G and utilities
  3. ROW Rapid Review (formerly Over-the-Counter) – for smaller projects
    • Removal and replacement of existing curb, gutter and sidewalk and other standard public improvements as described in Information Bulletin 165, "How to Obtain a Public Right-of-Way Permit for Standard Public Improvements.
    • Minor new improvements such as sidewalks next to the existing curb, missing curbs and gutters connecting two established curb lines.
    • Water services and sewer laterals. (See PDF icon Information Bulletin 166.)
    • Removal, replacement or new driveways serving residential uses. Driveways and access must comply with PDF icon Section 142.0560(j) of the San Diego Municipal Code
    • Exploratory trenching or soil test borings within improved rights-of-way.

It is essential to evaluate and verify if the proposed work is within a City ROW. This may be accomplished by the acquirement of a licensed professional, or by conducting research at the downtown Development Services Center. This typical analysis may include:

  • Checking the distance from the property line to the face of the curb, which is typically 10 feet.
  • Determination of street/roadway, alleys and paper streets limits, public and/or private easements (i.e., sewer, water, storm drain, shared access, pedestrian, etc.) through as-built research at the Development Services Department.
  • A search of City records (As-built drawings) and a review of the property's Title Report are required to determine if the proposed work lies within a City right-of-way If the proposed work is within a City right-of-way, hiring a professional consultant is recommended to assist you in identifying City right-of-way for your project site.

Discretionary Permit Approvals

Before proceeding with applying for a ROW Permit, it is essential to determine if any Discretionary Approval(s) will be required. Learn more about Discretionary Permits.

Encroachments

Encroachments are any privately owned and maintained improvements located within the public right-of-way or a public easement. For example, nonstandard improvements in the parkway (landscape features not clearly exempt in the Municipal Code), private storm drains connected to public drainage, planter boxes or nonstandard water or sewer services would be considered an encroachment.

Note: Standard water, sewer or fire services (services perpendicular to the corresponding main), driveways, sidewalk underdrains, etc., are not considered encroachments.

Encroachment Maintenance and Removal Agreement (EMRA) Requirements:

  • An EMRA is required for any privately-owned and/or privately-maintained encroachment located in the public right-of-way or a public service easement. For more information, please refer to PDF icon SDMC Section 129.0715 and PDF icon EMRA form and PDF icon Information Bulletin 576.
  • Although a ROW permit may not be required for a project, an EMRA may still be needed for the private encroachment in the public ROW. To assist with your understanding of the need for an EMRA, please contact the engineering booth at 619-446-5152 for questions regarding this potential need for your project.

Monument Preservation

The Permittee shall be responsible for the cost of preserving & replacing all survey monuments destroyed by construction. If a vertical control monument is to be disturbed or destroyed, the City of San Diego field survey section shall be notified in writing at least 7 days prior to demolition/construction.

In surveying, monuments are defined as physical objects on or in the ground, which establish the location of boundary lines. Monuments are often referred to as "property markers" by a layperson. Monuments come in many forms and sizes, ranging from a small tack set in a lead plugin concrete, a nail and brass disc set in concrete, a lead and brass disc set within an iron pipe of various diameters, a boulder, a 200-year-old Douglas fir tree, the center of a river, or even the crest of a mountain range, to name a few. Monuments can be natural or human-made.

To locate property corners, you will need a copy of the map and/or deed that created your parcel. You may try to interpret it, however, to ensure that all monuments are in the proper location, or to prepare legal maps/documentation, you need to contact a Professional Land Surveyor (or Civil Engineer Registered before 1982) licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Traffic Control

A separate Traffic Control Permit is required prior start of construction within the public Right of Way. 

For more information, please refer to the following :

Submittal & Permit Requirements

Please review the PDF icon Project Submittal Manual - Section 3 

A Public Right-of-Way Permit is required for the following unless otherwise exempt under Section PDF icon 129.0703:

  • The construction of public improvements by an entity other than the City.
  • The construction of privately owned structures, facilities, or improvements in the public right-of-way or a public service easement.
  • Any construction activity within a public right-of-way, as required by Municipal Code Sections PDF icon 54.0116 and PDF icon 54.0117.
  • The planting of any tree, shrub, or plant greater than 30 inches in height in the public right-of-way; where not otherwise covered by a Street Tree Permit per Chapter 6, Article 2, Division 6 (Street Planting).

The City Engineer may:

  • Require a building permit for private structures encroaching in the public right-of-way in addition to, or in place of, a Public ROW Permit.
  • Waive the requirement for a Public ROW Permit as provided in the Land Development Manual.

Review Types

D-Sheets

This type of drawing is prepared for extensive public improvements. These include - but are not limited to - new streets, widening of streets and roads, establishing new curb and gutter, changing of existing street grade, installation of new sewer, new storm drains, new street lighting and new traffic signals. PDF icon Per San Diego Municipal Code Section 129.0720, preparation of such plans must be prepared by a professional with the current State of California registration in the professional field necessary for the permit. View the Design Guidelines and Templates associated with applying for a ROW permit on D-sheets.

Construction Plans (DS-3179)

These types of drawings are prepared for minor improvements in the ROW, such improvements are prepared per City Standards and may include but are not limited to the removal and replacement of existing sidewalks, removal and replacement of curb ramps, installation of driveways, installation of sidewalk underdrains and curb outlets, removal and replacement of existing alley pavement and alley apron, etc.

Construction Plans are not required to be prepared by a Registered Civil Engineer; however, a Register Land Surveyor will be required to certify survey monumentation for the site. Construction Plans are not always submitted, permits for construction plans may be obtained Over the Counter. For more information, please see PDF icon Information Bulletin 165.

Fees

  • Fee/Deposit Schedule for Grading/Right-of-Way Permits & Mapping Actions

Exemptions

A public ROW Permit is not required for the PDF icon following work:

Note: An EMRA is required for any privately-owned and/or privately-maintained encroachment located in the public right-of-way or in a public service easement. Please refer to PDF icon San Diego Municipal Code Section 129.0717.

Inspections

Once the plans are approved, the project's Point of Contact will be notified of any additional items needed for permit issuance. These typically consist of inspection fee (or deposit) payment, the posting of performance bonds (if applicable), and contractor information.

Once the permit is issued and fees have been paid, please contact the Public Works Department, Construction Management and Field Services Division at 858-627-3200, before the start of work, to schedule a pre-construction meeting with the Resident Engineer. Upon completion of the pre-construction meeting, the permit will be considered as "active."

Permit Expiration and Time Extension

ROW permits are provided with an initial duration of two years, unless otherwise conditioned in the San Diego Municipal Code, starting at the permit issuance. Should extenuating circumstances exist requiring additional time to complete the approved scope of work, extensions may be provided. The San Diego Municipal Code allows the consideration of two extensions. Each extension provided is in 6-month (180 days) increments. No additional extensions may be offered. A nominal processing fee will be applied for each extension request to be paid by the applicant, should the application be approved.

PDF icon Form DS-340 "Application for Extension of Time for Grading/Right-of-Way" shall be submitted to the Submittal Counter on the 3rd floor of the Development Services Center to apply for an extension of time for a Right of Way (ROW) Permit which has not expired. If a ROW Permit expires before an application for an extension of time is submitted, an extension shall not be granted. The applicant/permittee may submit an application for an extension of time no earlier than 60 calendar days prior to the permit expiration date. To learn more about ROW Permit expiration and extensions, please refer to PDF icon San Diego Municipal Code Section 129.0750.

 

Compliant Outdoor Expansion

Apply for a Permit

Step 1

Step 2

Obtain or complete the following documents:

NOTE: The documents must be in PDF format. PDF icon View PDF requirements

Step 4

Apply for the permit

You will be required to upload the completed documents from Step 2.

Additional Resources

San Diego Municipal Code Sections

Definitions

Alley: A public way that is no wider than 25 feet that is dedicated as a secondary means of access to an abutting property.

Dedication: Real property or an interest in the real property offered to and accepted by the City for public use.

Encroachments: Are any privately owned and maintained improvements located within the public right-of-way or a public easement. For example, nonstandard improvements in the parkway (landscape features not clearly exempt in the Municipal Code), private storm drains connected to public drainage, planter boxes or nonstandard water or sewer services would be considered an encroachment. Note that standard water, sewer or fire services (services perpendicular to the main), driveways, sidewalk underdrains, etc., are not considered encroachments.

Fence: A vertical barrier or enclosure constructed of any material that supports no load other than its own weight.

Public improvement: Is the act or result of construction, reconstruction, or repair of improvements that are for or incidental to a public purpose.

Property line: A line that defines the boundaries of a lot or premises for purposes of applying development regulations. See PDF icon San Diego Municipal Code Chapter 11, Article 3, Section 113.0246 for additional information on determining property lines.

Public right-of-way: a public easement for streets, alleys, or other uses.

Public service easement: any easement granted to the City of San Diego for public utilities of any kind and related facilities.

Public utility: a person or entity furnishing gas, electricity, or communication services to the citizens of San Diego under a franchise granted by the City or the State of California.