Right-Of-Way Permits and Application

What is Right-Of-Way?

The right of way is public property and includes any public thoroughfare such as a street, road or alley. It also usually includes the median, utility poles, sidewalks, and the area immediately adjacent to the street. A good rule of thumb is that the back of the sidewalk (side nearest to the residence) and the street is part of the right of way. Private property begins behind the right of way.

 What Projects Require Right-Of-Way Permits?

 Examples include:

  • Sidewalk repairs
  • Sewer line connections
  • Driveway repairs or installations
  • Culvert installations
  • Storm drain installation
  • Utility repair or installation
  • Private water & sewer line connections
  • Sidewalk construction where there is an existing curb
  • Dumpster or storage pod located in ROW 

Landscaping work (i.e. gardening, planting) done in the City right-of-way requires a Landscape License.

What signs are permitted in Right-of-Way?

Signs that are for short-term, timed use shall be allowed in the City’s right-of-way as long as the signs are removed immediately following the event.  Such signs would include garage sale signs, political campaign signs, significant University of Illinois events (i.e. IHSA tournaments) and fund-raising advertisements for non-profit agencies (i.e. UBA events, Festival of Lights).

No such signs shall be affixed to any City or utility infrastructure including traffic signals, streetlights, street sign posts, utility poles, hydrants, etc. but rather shall be attached to a self-supported stake or post.

Signs that have no definitive time for removal shall not be allowed in the City’s right-of-way.  Such signs would include newspaper stands, real estate signs, and home business signs or advertising, except as allowed in the Urbana Zoning Ordinance, Section IX-5-13.  

Revisions to Right-of-Way Ordinance

The City of Urbana adopted revisions to its public Right-Of-Way (ROW) ordinance on December 5, 2016.  A summary of the revisions to the City’s ROW ordinance is presented below. 

  • Section 1 - Require utility to notify adjoining properties of utility installation. Require signage on utility installations.
  • Section 2 - Added a new section on one-dig utility coordination to limit repeated installation activities at a specific ROW location.
  • Section 3 - Require City Arborist to be contacted for open excavations in drip-lines of parkway trees or if root over 1-inch in diameter is cut or removed for parkway trees outside the dripline of the tree.
  • Section 4 – Reduce time that an excavation is allowed to remain open from ten days to 48 hours without the prior written approval of City Engineer. Water infrastructure installations are allowed to remain open for up to 96 hours.
  • Section 5 – Add requirement for a temporary surface for an excavation in the sidewalk or street that remains open for more than 48 hours.

The revisions are effective immediatley.

The ROW Ordinance is in Chapter 20 of the City Code.




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Created on: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 11:08
- Author - BradB
- Contributors: BradBBethR