The term "encroachment" is used in a variety of contexts to refer to use of public property by someone other than the City. Examples include trenching and excavations, placing facilities in the public right of way, replacing sidewalk, or placing a mailbox in a planter strip. Planting vegetation is not considered an encroachment.
The "public right of way" is defined to include those areas within any dedicated public roadway or other property within the jurisdiction of the City, whether or not the entire area is actually used for its intended purpose.
As provided by State law, the City requires that anyone wishing to create or construct an encroachment in the public right of way obtain permission through an encroachment permit. Any person working in the public right of way without the authority of such a permit is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Applying for a Permit
In order to protect itself in case the applicant does not have the necessary financial resources to defend against claims, the City requires that the applicant provide an insurance certificate that names the City as an additional insured prior to the issuance of an encroachment permit.
Contractors with appropriate licenses are required to do most of the work in the public right-of-way and/or public service easements and typically must act as the Permitee. The Permitee must provide proof of public liability and property damage insurance ($1,000,000) and Workers Compensation Insurance meeting minimum State requirements. Additional details regarding the insurance requirements can be obtained here. A sample insurance certificate with the appropriate endorsements can be viewed here. Property owners of single-family dwellings, or two authorized and legal units, who live at the permitted addresses and are personally performing all work are excluded from the insurance requirements.
To view a step-by-step guide of the application process please review the information found here: Encroachment Permit Guide.
These types of applications must be submitted electronically by registering for an account in the City’s Citizen Portal:
- Containers (moving containers, PODS, debris boxes, dumpsters)
- Applications submitted by a Licensed Contractor
These types of applications may be submitted via email following the directions in the Encroachment Permit Guide:
- Applications submitted by a party other than a licensed contractor
- Applications submitted by property owners of single-family dwellings, or two authorized and legal units, who live at the permitted addresses and are personally performing all work.
Additional information regarding the application process and the submittal requirements can be obtained by reviewing the Encroachment Permit Guide.
All fee payments associated with new permit applications can be paid online. Directions associated with the payment process will be provided to applicants during the permit review phase.
If the applicant is unable to submit electronic applications or pay fees online, an accommodation can be requested by contacting the Engineering Development Services division at [email protected] or (707) 543-4611.
Permit Process Length
All documents submitted with the application, including insurance certificates, will be checked for completeness. Once all documents have been verified as being complete, the City will formally accept the application and begin the plan check process. Overall review timelines depend on the scope of the project. Most encroachment permits are issued within 2-4 weeks.
Work covered under the permit will be performed according to the City’s Design and Construction Standards and Specifications. The City also has the authority to impose reasonable conditions on the issuance of encroachment permits. The following types of conditions are commonly imposed to provide legal and financial protection for the City from loss or liability that may arise from the work authorized by the permit:
- Hold Harmless & Indemnification
A standard condition will apply to all permits that requires the applicant to hold the City harmless in the event that legal action is initiated by someone in connection with the work done under the permit issued to the applicant.
- Protection of Street
The applicant shall be responsible for replacing all components of the public street in a manner that results in a condition that is similar to or better than the condition that existed prior to the encroachment.
- Traffic, Bicycle and Pedestrian Controls
Proper controls will be required to minimize the impacts of the work on vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
- Noise Control and Work Hours
The City has the ability to impose noise and work hour conditions on a case-by-case basis.
- Performance Bonds and Warranties
A performance bond guaranteeing that the applicant faithfully performs its obligations under the permit may be required. Generally, the bond amount will be equal to the value of work within and affecting the public right of way. If repairs required under the permit are not completed within a reasonable time frame, the City may perform the corrections and file a claim on the applicant or maintenance bond, if applicable, to recover the City’s costs.
Encroachment Permit costs vary based on the complexity of the project. If the proposal involves any additions or modifications to the public water and sewer systems, additional inspection fees may be assessed by the Water Department. A copy of the Department’s current fee schedule is available here.
The applicant is required to notify the City at each point during construction so that an inspection can be conducted prior to the next phase being started. If violations are found during the inspection, the City will require that the violation be corrected prior to allowing the work to continue. All inspections requests and work notifications must be performed in the manner described on the issued permit.