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Right-of-Way Permit

The following information is for homeowners, design professionals, and contractors to help with the preparation and processing of public Right-of-Way (ROW) permit applications within the City of San Diego. The information and references provided serve as guide for the overall requirements associated with public ROW requirements. It is the responsibility of the prospective owner/permittee to conduct the research necessary and to consult directly with City staff in the Development Services Department for a specific project. Each project site has unique characteristics that may require certain approval(s) to be obtained prior to moving forward with a construction permit.

The public ROW is typically utilized by the City to create roadways, sidewalks, run underground/aboveground utilities, etc. The approval of any work and/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)

It is important 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 Development Services – Records Section, located at 1222 First Ave. on the second floor. Typical research may include:

  • The distance from the property line to the face of curb. Typically, this distance is 10 feet (may vary for different locations around the City). You may obtain curb to property line distance by:
    • Performing a City record search at the Development Services
    • Filling out the following form "Curb to Property Form" PDF icon DS-689
  • Determination of public and/or private easements (i.e. sewer, water, storm drain, shared access, pedestrian, etc.) through as-built research at the Development Services Department
  • Determination of street/roadway, alleys and paper streets limits

A search of City records (As-built drawings) and review of the property’s Title Report are required to determine if the proposed work lies within a City ROW. If the proposed work is within a City ROW, hiring a professional consultant is recommended to assist you in identifying City ROW for your project site.


Discretionary Permit Approvals:

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


Municipal Code:


Submittal Requirements:

PDF icon Project Submittal Manual - Section 3 Matrix of construction permits for grading and public right-of-way


ROW Permit Requirements:

  1. 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 in 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).
  2. 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.

Encroachments in the ROW:

Encroachments are any privately owned and maintained improvements located within the public right-of way or a public easement. For example, non-standard 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.

Encroachment Maintenance and Removal Agreement (EMRA):

  • 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. 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 required for the private encroachment in the public ROW. To assist with your understanding on the need for an EMRA, please contact the engineering booth at 619-446-5152 for questions regarding this potential need for your project.

Exemptions:

PDF icon San Diego Municipal Code Section 129.0703 outlines exemptions from requirement for a public ROW Permit. Exemption from the public ROW permit requirements does not authorize any work to be done in violation of the provisions of the public right-of-way regulations or other applicable local or state regulations. A public ROW Permit is not required for the following work:

  1. The installation of underground irrigation systems in the parkway that will be maintained by the fronting property owner.
  2. The installation of landscape in the parkway that is less than 30-inches high and will be maintained by the fronting property owner or where otherwise covered by a PDF icon Street Tree Permit per PDF icon San Diego Municipal Code, Chapter 6, Article 2, Division 6 (Street Planting).

NOTE: An Encroachment Maintenance and Removal Agreement 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.


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 lay person. Monuments come in many forms and sizes, ranging from a small tack set in a lead plug in 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 manmade.

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 prior to 1982) licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

For more information please refer to the following links:


Review Types of ROW Permits:

D-Sheets: This type of drawing is prepared for extensive public improvements including but 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 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): This type of drawings is prepared for minor improvements in the ROW, such improvements are prepared per City Standards and may include but 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.


Traffic Control Permit:

A Traffic Control Permit is required prior start of construction within the public Right of Way, please refer to PDF icon Information Bulletin 177 for more information.


Permit Issuance and 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, prior to the start of work, to schedule a pre-construction meeting with the Resident Engineer. Upon completion of the preconstruction meeting, the permit will be considered as “active”.

For more information, refer to PDF icon San Diego Municipal Code Section 129.0741.


Permit Expiration and Extension of Time:

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 exists requiring additional time to complete the approved scope of work, extensions maybe provided. The San Diego Municipal Code allows the consideration of two extensions. Each extension provided are in 6-month (180 days) increments. No additional extensions maybe offered. A nominal processing fee will be applied for each extension request to be paid by the applicant, should the request 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 Department to apply for an extension of time for a Grading Permit which has not expired. If a Grading 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 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.


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 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, non-standard 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.


Fee Schedule:


Procedures and Design Guidelines:

For details on the submittal requirements, documentation, process fees and design standards, please refer to the following links for information:


Permit Issuance:

Refer to PDF icon San Diego Municipal Code Section 129.0741

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 Construction Management and Field Services at 858-627-3200, prior to the start of work, to schedule a pre-construction meeting with the Resident Engineer. Upon completion of the preconstruction meeting, the permit will be considered as "active".

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