Public Right of Way

Typical Lot Image

A. Sight Line Visibility

Corner lot properties must keep all vegetation (bushes, shrubs, private trees) trimmed regularly so that vehicles and pedestrians are visible to on-coming traffic. In particular, vegetation inside the 35-foot sight triangle must be kept below 36 inches in height.

Private vegetation (bushes, shrubs, trees) must never block or obstruct pedestrian traffic along the sidewalk or prevent cars from parking.

B. Protecting the Bay

It is important to protect the Storm Drain System in the public right-of-way. Anything that goes into the gutter (trash, oil, leaves, cigarette butts, and other pollutants) will make their way into the storm drain, eventually polluting our creeks and the San Francisco Bay, potentially killing organisms that benefit the environment. For information on how to protect the bay, please visit: Clean Water Program

C. Sidewalk Damage

Sidewalk damage where no City tree exists or if damage is caused by a private tree's roots, is the property owner's responsibility to repair per California Street and Highway Code Section 5610. Any sidewalk repairs would require an encroachment permit.

D. Hold Harmless Agreement

Before a private property owner can build any permanent structure in the public right of way (such as a fence or retaining wall), they must obtain a revocable encroachment permit from the City. Along with permission, the property owner must execute a Hold Harmless Agreement . Among other things, this agreement requires the property owner to name the City as an interested party on their property insurance with a minimum liability of $500,000.

Walkways, driveways, landscaping and irrigation systems are not subject to this process, although a regular encroachment permit may be required.

E. Encroachment Permit Required

An encroachment permit is required for any work performed in the public right-of-way including but not limited to: tree planting, drainage into the street, sidewalk repairs, and sewer lateral repairs.