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Public Right of Way

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PW SIDEWALKPublic right-of-way is the strip of land on which a city street is located including the strips on either side of the street that typically includes the tree lawn and sidewalk. Within Centerville, the City normally owns the street and those two strips of land. A township, county, state or the federal government can also own rights-of-way.

In Centerville, a typical residential street is built on a 50-foot-wide right-of-way. The street and curb are 28 feet in width and the remaining 11 feet on either side are used for sidewalk, public utilities, tree lawn and traffic signs.

How to find your public Right-of-Way

  1. If you have a sidewalk, typically the edge of the sidewalk closest to your house is the public right of way line, and therefore also your front property line.
  2. If no sidewalk is present, then measure ten feet back from the curb to determine the right of way line.

Purpose and Use of the Public Right-of-Way

  • Reserved for public improvements and various features, including sidewalk, street signs, traffic signals, street lights, fire hydrants and storm sewers.
  • Reserved for public utilities, including water, electric, gas, telephone, cable TV and sanitary sewer.
  • Provides the City with the ability to maintain proper sight distance. As trees and bushes grow and start to block visibility for motorists or pedestrians, they need to be trimmed to provide for adequate sight distance. Residents are reminded to pay close attention to vegetation growing along public Right of Way on their property frontage and work to keep it cut back. This includes tree branches overhanging sidewalk. These branches need to be trimmed upward to provide overhead clearance for pedestrians and bicycle riders using the sidewalk.

Maintenance of the Public Right-of-Way

While individual property owners are required to maintain their public right-of-way across their frontage, including lawn mowing, tree trimming, and driveway approaches, it is public property and a permit is required for work within this area.

The permit ensures the City has approved that the work performed does not infringe on public safety and accessibility. Sidewalk and driveway approaches improvements require a public Right-of-Way permit. For more information sidewalk and driveway approach requirements, visit Engineering section of the Public Works Department.

Please note the following when performing work in the public Right-of-Way:

  • Call the City’s Public Works Department, 428-4782, and inform us of work you or your  contractor is planning near the street to determine whether you need a permit--including but not limited to-- repair or reconstruction of your driveway, sanitary sewer tap, sump pump outlet, gas line or water line.
  • Do not plant bushes or trees close to the street.
  • All fencing must be kept outside of the public Right of Way. (Installation of a fence requires a separate permit.)
  • Electronic pet fences and sprinkler systems should NOT be placed in the public right of way.

Public Right-of-Way Permit

  • A permit is required for any work done in the public right-of-way.
  • Property owners should require their contractor to secure all necessary permits before proceeding with work in the right-of-way.
  • A bond is required to work within the right-of-way.
  • The permit cost is $50 and issued by the Public Works Department.
  • All work must be completed according to city standards.
  • Download a Public Right-of Way Permit Application

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