Right of Way Permits & Working in the Right of Way
What is Right-of-Way?
Right-of-Way (ROW) includes the street and an area of land between the street and the property line (this area is typically between the sidewalk and the curb).
Used for public purposes, the ROW is intended for traffic movement, signal poles, utilities (above ground and underground), street lights, sidewalks, and snow storage. Although the area between the sidewalk and the curb is City-owned, it is maintained by the property owner.
Working in the Right-of-Way
A permit is required before working in the public right-of-way. Some common examples of work that requires a permit include:
- Driveway improvements
- Sidewalk repairs conducted by the homeowner
- Installation of mailbox post
- Excavation work to improve an underground utility
Permits for Working in the Right-of-Way
Homeowners, contractors, and utility agencies must complete one of the following permit applications and receive approval prior to beginning any work in the public right-of-way. A permit must be obtained before starting work in the right-of-way. If work has started before a permit is acquired, the permit fee will be doubled.
When constructing a driveway, use the following form:
Small Wireless Facilities Building Permit for Right-of-Way Encroachment
Non-Franchise Agreement Application
Public Encroachment Application
Work Before Permit
If work for which a permit is required by the City Code is started prior to obtaining said permit, the permit fee shall be doubled, but the payment of such double fee shall not relieve any person from fully complying with the requirements of this Code in the execution of the work, nor from any other fees or penalties prescribed by law or ordinance.
Should a HOMEOWNER wish to improve their driveway, sidewalk or mailbox post by themselves within the right-of-way, a completed Application for Excavation must be submitted along with a copy of their current homeowner's insurance declarations page to the Public Works Department for consideration and approval.
If a CONTRACTOR is being hired to perform the work, the contractor must first be specifically bonded to perform work in the right-of-way prior to any work beginning. This bond is available through the Public Works Department. After the bond has been approved by the City (which may take up to ten business days for approval), the completed Application for Excavation must be submitted to the Public Works Department for consideration and approval. Please contact the Public Works Department Engineering Division at 319-286-5802 for a list of contractors already bonded with the City.
Location of private property vs. public right-of-way
The public right-of-way includes the streets and an area of land between the street and the legal property line. The average distance between the property line and the edge of the street is 16 feet; however this distance is different for each property. By locating the property pins, an accurate property line location may be determined. If the property pins cannot be located, a licensed land surveyor can survey the legal description of your property.
Private sprinkler systems are not allowed in the public right-of-way. If private sprinklers are disturbed during construction, they will not be replaced
Contractor Meeting Spring 2017
Subject matter experts from a variety of City divisions recently provided a brief overview on processes related to right-of-way permitting and project standards. If you are a local contractor and missed the meeting, the material can be found below:
- Updates to Standard Details
- Working in the Right of Way
- Ramp Inspection Presentation
- ADA Curb Ramp Inspection Form
- Review checklist for sidewalks
- Traffic Control presentation