What You Should Know
The City offers three categories for a ROW Permit based on the scope of work:
- ROW – for all general ROW and public improvements
- ROW Dry-Utilities – for all communications, 5G and utilities
- ROW Rapid Review (formerly Over-the-Counter) – for smaller projects
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 can range from 10 to 22 feet, as determined in the parkway and sidewalk requirements.
- 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 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 SDMC Section 129.0715 and EMRA DS-3237 form and 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.
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.
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 Project Submittal Manual - Section 3
A Public Right-of-Way Permit is required for the following unless otherwise exempt under Section 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 54.0116 and 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.
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 curbs and gutters, changing of existing street grade, installation of new sewers, new storm drains, street lighting and traffic signals. 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 Information Bulletin 165.
- Fee/Deposit Schedule for Grading/Right-of-Way Permits & Mapping Actions
A public ROW Permit is not required for the 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 San Diego Municipal Code Section 129.0717.
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 Engineering & Capital Projects 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.
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 San Diego Municipal Code Section 129.0750.
Compliant Outdoor Expansion