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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

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

Debris / Moving Box Permit - $50

Intended for placing a debris box or storage container (i.e. portable on demand storage containers - PODS) in the street.

A Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit is required for all debris boxes and storage containers (i.e. portable on demand storage containers – PODS) placed on the street. Please note that an encroachment permit is not required if the debris box or storage container 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 Moving / Debris Box Permit.

Requirements for a Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit for a debris box and/or storage container:

  • Review of the location of the debris box and/or storage container placed is 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.
  • Debris box and/or storage container must be adequately insured and the business issuing the box must have an active City of San Rafael Business License.
  • If you need to reserve space for your box, no parking signs or meter bags they can be picked up at parking services. They are located at 1400 5th Ave Tuesday – Thursday and the Al Boro Community Center (50 Canal St) Monday and Friday. The first sign is $50 and each additional sign is $4. The first meter bag is $66 for the first day and each additional bag is $16 per meter per day. No parking signs need to be placed at least 72 hours in advance to be enforceable. Meter bags are required to place a box in a metered parking space. No parking signs are not required to drop the box on a street with unrestricted parking. No parking signs are only recommended if space is limited and you are concerned about reserving space.
  • Debris box and/or storage container may not be placed on the street for more than 2 weeks, unless otherwise discussed with the Department of Public Works.
  • No more than one debris box and/or storage container per site may be used at one time, unless otherwise discussed with the Department of Public Works.

Minor Temporary Encroachment Permit - $358 (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.

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 is needed from your sanitary sewer provider – San Rafael Sanitation District or Las Gallinas Sanitary District.

  • 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 - $493

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 - $2,435

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 - $986

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

Streetary Encroachment Permit

A “streetary” or “streetaries” shall mean an outdoor eating area that operates within and uses parking spaces within the public right-of-way directly adjacent to the food service establishment street frontage. This permit type is intended for any person desiring to erect, construct, place or maintain an encroachment upon any existing parking spaces within the public right-of-way for a streetary. Permits are limited to only food service establishments.

Please visit the Streetary webpage for additional information on the Streetary program, and to submit an application to construct a Streetary.

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. The City of San Rafael follows the Marin County Uniform Construction Standards of all cities/towns and County of Marin drawings referenced in this manual must be followed unless other wise noted by the agency.

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 Street Saver/PCI Map Application!
  • 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

First time contractor set up

  • Max. file size: 100 MB.
    Attach Certificate of Liability insurance listing the City of San Rafael as additional insured


DPW Permits Team
415.485.3355, Option 2


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