Do I need an Encroachment Permit?
If you perform any work or store materials and equipment within the City’s right-of-way, you need an Encroachment Permit. Generally, the City’s right-of-way extends about 20-25 feet from the center of the road on most residential streets, and much wider on through-roads.
Light landscaping (ground cover, low shrubs) without irrigation may be installed in the right-of-way without a permit. However, you do so at your own risk, and anything planted within the City’s right-of-way may be removed if it conflicts with future City road or drainage construction activities.
Permanent structures such as a wall, fence, decorative mail box, or building are not allowed within the City’s right-of-way. Under special circumstances and as a last resort, you may apply for an Encroachment Agreement for these structures, which will be considered by the City, in addition to an Encroachment Permit.
How do I get an Encroachment Permit?
- Fill out the Encroachment Permit form and provide the address and detailed description of the project. You also need to provide plans, drawings, or sketches of the project.
- After you complete the permit application, a staff person will visit the job site to determine conditions the City may place on the project. Construction details and typical conditions are on the Encroachment Permit form. If necessary, the staff will call you.
- The staff will then determine the amount of the refundable deposit ($500 minimum, $2500 typical) as well as the permit fee to cover the initial staff time ($247.50 minimum). If applicable, additional inspection fees will be deducted from the security deposit when the project is complete.
- Someone from the City offices will then contact you (typically within 1-2 days) and let you know that your Encroachment Permit has been processed. You can then submit your payment for the fees and deposit, and pick up your permit. You are also required to contact the City’s offices at least 24 hours prior to starting work (see permit for details).
How do I get my deposit back?
After the work is complete, including the removal of utility and construction identification markings, you must contact Lafayette City Offices, Engineering Department Encroachment Permit Hot Line (925) 299-3277 to request a final inspection. Once your project has been inspected by the engineering staff and all conditions of the permit have been met, the deposit will be refunded in the same manner in which it was made. Due to temporary staffing issues mentioned above, the check refund process may take 2-4 weeks, and credit card refunds may take 7 days or more.
Generally, the City of Lafayette prohibits property owners from installing or maintaining any encroachments within the public right-of-way; however, property owners may be permitted to install fences, landscaping or similar improvements within the public right-of-way upon execution of an encroachment agreement authorized by the Engineering Services Manager.
As approved by Resolution No. 2013-29 of the City Council on June 10, 2013, an encroachment agreement may be authorized provided such encroachments are consistent with the following :
A. The encroachment does not conflict with an adopted street improvement or similar plan, or one that is in development or can be reasonably anticipated;
B. The encroachment does not pose a public health or safety hazard, in the opinion of the Engineering Services Manager;
C. The encroachment would not substantially obscure the main property frontage, such as an opaque fence along the front of the house; and
D. The encroachment is sufficiently set back from the street curb or edge of pavement to not inhibit the reasonable use of the area, such as passenger-side access to parked vehicles. The typical setback should be no less than three feet, unless otherwise determined to be sufficient by the Engineering Services Manager with due consideration of prevailing surrounding conditions.
Within 30 days of receipt of a complete application, a request for an encroachment will be approved, conditionally approved, or denied by the Engineering Services Manager, who will provide written findings in support of his or her decision with specific reference to the factors listed above. Any property owner(s) unsatisfied with the decision may appeal it to the City Council, submitting their request in writing for an appeal showing facts conforming to the four criteria established above, within 10 days of the decision.
If the encroachment is approved, it will be documented in an agreement signed by the property owner(s), who will be required to indemnify, defend and hold the City harmless from any damage to City or third-party property caused by or arising out of the encroachment. The agreement shall also require the property owner(s) to remove or relocate the encroachment at any time at the owner's sole expense whenever deemed necessary or advisable by the City. Property owners shall also be required to obtain and maintain property liability insurance covering the owner's property and the encroachment in an amount required by the City, and the City shall be an additional insured on such policy. Other terms and conditions may be included by the Engineering Services Manager in the agreement, as deemed necessary or advisable.
How do I apply for an Encroachment Agreement for structures in the public right-of-way?
1. Submit a letter requesting the Encroachment Agreement, including justification as to why your case represents a special circumstance under which the encroachment should be allowed, and explaining how the location of the proposed work qualifies as a last resort.
2. Provide the City with a sketch or plans of the project. Include the right-of-way or property line, and the improvements contemplated by the project. Photos are beneficial.
3. Insurance: Provide a written certification from the property insurance carrier, indicating that it is able to provide the required coverage on the encroachment per the terms of the agreement. Specifically, Property Owner must maintain homeowners insurance and property damage insurance covering the property including the encroachment area, in the amount of at least $500,000 per occurrence insuring against liability for damage to property and $1,000,000 for injury to or death of any person, or a single limit of $1,000,000, as a result of the placement or condition of the Improvements. The policy shall name the City of Lafayette as an additional insured, and Property Owner does itself and shall require its insurer to waive subrogation in favor of the City. Property Owner shall furnish the City with satisfactory evidence of the insurance and evidence that the carrier is required to give the City at least 10 days notice in advance of the cancellation or reduction in coverage of the required policies. If the encroachment is approved, the applicant will also be required to provide the City annually with evidence that they are continuing to maintain the required property liability insurance covering their property and the encroachment for the life of the improvements.
Provide a written certification from the commercial general liability insurance carrier for the contractor doing the work, indicating that it is also able to name the City of Lafayette as an additional insured on their policy.
(Note that the insurance terms above are not negotiable, and no approval will be granted if the applicant cannot meet Lafayette's insurance requirements as stipulated in the agreement and described above. Applicants applying for a retroactive permit and agreement must relocate the unpermitted encroachments outside of the public right-of-way if they are unable to meet these insurance terms.)
4. Submit a check for $500.00, payable to the City of Lafayette, to cover the agreement application fee.
5. If your application is approved, the Encroachment Agreement will then be drawn up by the City and sent to you. You will need to execute the agreement in the presence of a notary. Return the executed agreement and the required insurance certificates. Also attach a legal description of your property (as shown on the Grant Deed for the property). Before the City takes final action to record the agreement against the property, all proof of required insurance must be in good order.
6. After the agreement is consummated, the applicant or his/her contractor may complete an Encroachment Permit form for construction of the work. Submit a check for $247.50, payable to the City of Lafayette, to cover the permit fee. Once the permit (covering the specific conditions and requirements for construction of the work in the City's right-of-way) is ready to be issued, an additional payment, typically $2,500, will be due as a refundable deposit, returnable upon satisfactory completion of the work covered by the permit.