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Encroachment Permits

Apply for an Encroachment Permit online through eTRACKiT

Before applying for a permit with us, make sure that your project location is within the City of San Rafael's jurisdiction

  • Submit for link to apply for an online permit. Please confirm * Required

What is an encroachment permit?

An encroachment permit is required anytime a property owner, business, or contractor performs work within the city right-of-way. Work can include construction, or simply storing/staging materials in the right-of-way. An encroachment permit ensures all applicable standards and applications are followed and that work is done safely with minimal impact to nearby property and pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle travel.

Map of all active and complete permits in San Rafael

Types of Encroachment Permits

Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit - $246 (No fee for sidewalk work)

Intended for work with a specified, limited period of time including debris boxes, temporary construction, sewer lateral work, water lateral work, scaffolding, and tree trimming.

A Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit is required for all debris boxes and portable on demand storage containers (PODS) placed on the street. Please note that an encroachment permit is not required if the box or PODS is placed on private property such as in a driveway and does not encroach on the sidewalk or right of way. We highly encourage property owners to explore these options prior to requesting a Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit.

Requirements for a Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit for a Debris Box/PODs:

  • Review of the location so the box/PODS is placed in a safe location that does not block line of sight for motorist and pedestrians and allows enough room in the street for first responders. Bike lanes and other bicycle and pedestrian facilities cannot be blocked.
  • Box/PODS must be adequately insured and the business issuing the box must have an active City of San Rafael Business License.
  • No Parking signs must be posted at least 72 hours prior to delivery of the box/PODS. No Parking signs are provided by the City of San Rafael Parking Services Division.
  • Box/PODS may not be placed on the street for more than 2 weeks.
  • No more than one box/PODS per site may be used at one time.

Sidewalk, curb and gutter construction require a Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit, but there is no fee. All requirements of a Encroachment Permit apply except the fee. See diagram below for details on work associated with a no fee encroachment permit.

A Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit is also required for the construction of installation of sidewalks, driveways approaches, curbs and gutters, including underdrains, underground facilities, and sewer laterals.

Map of encroachment permits and sidewalk work

Any driveway improvements that include work in the right of way requires an encroachment permit. There is the standard minor temporary encroachment permit fee associated with driveway work, see diagram below:

Map of encroachment permits and sidewalk work

Any sewer lateral work that includes construction in the right of way requires an encroachment permit. A sewer permit from the San Rafael Sanitation District is also required. The standard minor temporary encroachment permit fee applies to any sidewalk repair required due to new private construction, see diagram below:

Map of encroachment permits and sidewalk work

  • Closure for limited periods of public streets, driveways or public areas not under control of the State or the County
  • Closure for limited periods of time of public sidewalks
  • Construction required for installation of sidewalks, driveways approaches, curbs and gutters, including underdrains, underground facilities, and sewer laterals
  • Painting of address numbers on curbs
  • Painting/washing of building exteriors adjacent to the public right of way or public street
  • Scaffoldings
  • Temporary construction fencing
  • Tree trimming by private property owners or their contractors

Minor Continuing Encroachment Permit - $368

Intended and permitted to continue for an indefinite period of time, but is limited in size, scale or use so that the encroachment will have little or no impact on the public health, safety or welfare. Examples include flat or low level landscaping, bike racks, newspaper racks, and signs/architectural features extending more than four feet (4’) into the public-right-of-way.

  • Flat or low-level improvements/landscaping adjacent to city streets or pedestrian walking paths, including but not limited to low-level plants and shrubs, landscape walls and fences less than 3’ in height, a private postal box on a post, boulders, concrete and other flat work
  • Bicycle racks
  • Newspaper racks
  • Awnings, signs, eaves or other minor architectural features of building extending more than 4’ into the right-of-way
  • Limitation to material placed in “planting strips”

Major Continuing Encroachment Permit - $2,394

Needed for major work intended to continue for an indefinite period of time. Example of fences or walls higher than three feet (3′) above natural grade, abutments for driveways and stairs, groundwater monitoring wells.

  • Fences or wall higher than three feet above natural grade
  • Groundwater monitoring wells

Utility Encroachment Permit - $919

Construction or work within the right of way by a utility or special district (water, cable, sewer, gas, etc.). For sewer lateral work see Minor Temporary Encroachment Permits.

  • Any entity providing electricity, gas, cable, video programming, telephone, telecommunications or other services to customers, and which pursuant to state law or local franchise is entitled to install its facilities in the public right of way

Encroachment Permit Requirements – Insurance.

General Liability for at least One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) and, Automobile Liability for at least One Million Dollars ($1,000,000).  The Insurance Certificate naming the City of San Rafael as an Additional Insured along with the Endorsement page, need to be provided at the time of the permit application.

Sample Insurance Requirements

detailed plan shows the exact location, a more precise extent of the work zone, the work proposed and details of the improvements.

key map shows the general project location and approximate extent of the workzone.

Underground utilities can be shown on the detailed plan or as a separate map. We use this to generally locate where subsurface utilities exist, and to avoid conflicts with existing facilities.

Traffic Control Plan (TCP) is a document that shows temporary signs, cones, and flaggers to safely direct traffic around your work zone.  ‘Traffic’ includes vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and mobility devices such as wheelchairs.

Temporary traffic control requirements, devices, and setups can be found in Part 6 of the CA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Part 6 includes temporary traffic controls such as for work zones.  Chapter 6H provides typical applications or general setups.

Several CA MUTCD applications that are commonly used within the City of San Rafael are:

01 – Spacing Requirements
03 – Shoulders
06 – Shoulder, Reduced Lane
10 – Lane Closure, Flaggers
11 – Lane Closure, Low Volume
13 – Temp Road Closure, Flaggers
15 – Center of Road, Low Volume
18 – Lane Closure, Self Regulating
20 – Detour
28 – Sidewalk Closure
29 – Crosswalk, Pedestrian Detour
101 – Shoulder, Bike Lane
CA MUTCD 2014 Rev 4 – 6H Typical Applications (Full Chapter)

(Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to use the latest standards and to select/develop a traffic control plan specific to the proposed encroachment.)

A City of San Rafael business license is required. If you don’t have a business license, you can apply online.

An A or C-12 license is required for all paving.  Other licenses may be required based on project scope.

Pavement and trench restoration standards for projects in the Right-of-Way (ROW) are detailed in the City of San Rafael Pavement Restoration Matrix. Marin County Uniform Construction Standards drawings referenced in the City of San Rafael Pavement Restoration Matrix can be accessed here.

Additional Information:

  • 2 lbs of Davis Black per cubic yard is required
  • Curbs shall be poured separately from sidewalks
  • Rebar is not used in the Right-of-Way unless approved by the Department of Public Works
  • Forms are required for the lip of the gutter.  Asphalt shall be removed for installation of the form.
  • For repaving the asphalt a conform is required, with a clean cut 2′ from the lip of the gutter to ensure a quality patch.
  • To determine PCI of City streets please reference the Moratorium Street Map!
  • See Municipal Code Section
  • Active Encroachment Permits

Step by Step Guides to Applying Online through eTRACKiT

More Online Forms

  • Start of work notifications must be submitted no less than 48 hours prior to start date.
  • Inspections must be requested prior to the expiration of your permit. Failure to notify us prior to backfilling of trenches and/or restoration of the public right of way may result in re-excavation of the project.
    • DISCLAIMER: Inspections will be scheduled based on staff availability. If your requested date and time is not available, Public Works reserves the right to reschedule inspections. The City of San Rafael reserves the right to request compaction tests for all trench work and will notify contractor if this will be needed to final the permit.
  • To contact Public Works, email encroachmentpermits@cityofsanrafael.org with the following information:
    • Subject must include encroachment permit number and site location of the project
    • For start of work notifications:
      • Work start date and approximate end date
      • Short description of project and requested inspection date
      • Foreman contact name
        • Phone number
        • Email address (optional)
    • For final inspection requests:
      • Requested date and time


Jason Madayag | Permit Program Coordinator

Megan Kelly | Junior Engineer

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