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Major Encroachment



A surface or subsurface encroachment in the sidewalk or street area of any public right-of-way, not otherwise permitted in the San Francisco Building Code, Administrative Code, Public Works Code or Police Code, is authorized only a revocable encroachment permit granted by a Resolution of the Board of Supervisors.



Such permission, if granted, is contingent upon the applicant complying with the following conditions:

  1. A fee payment (See Fee Schedule) to cover the cost of investigating and processing the permit application. 

  2. Submit three (3) copies of a Street Encroachment Agreement holding the City and County of S.F. harmless from claims, liability, etc. and agreeing to the conditions thereof (copy attached). 

  3. Provide and maintain, for the life of the encroachment, a $2,000,000 insurance policy to protect the City and County of San Francisco from claims, liability and loss resulting from the installation or maintenance of the encroachment. 

  4. Payment of a non-refundable inspection fee (7.5% of the construction cost of said encroachment) for the issuance of a construction permit, pursuant to approved Board of Supervisors Resolution. 

  5. Fees to cover the cost of recording the Resolution and Street Encroachment Agreement in the office of the County Recorder. 



Request for the encroachment permit must be submitted in writing to the Director of Public Works, 1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103 and accompanied by a minimum of six (6) sets of plans showing the design, location, nature of the encroachment and other pertinent information sufficient to enable the various City agencies to evaluate the effect of the encroachment(s) as it relates to their appropriate rules and regulations.  

The applicant shall also submit a 300-foot radius map, a list of property owners within 300 feet of the proposed encroachment(s), and two (2) sets of mailing labels and postage to be used for notifying property owners of Public Works and Board of Supervisors public hearings.



Public Works shall make referrals to the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation (ISCOTT), the Planning Department for Master Plan Referral, and depending on the nature of the encroachment, the San Francisco Art Commission, and other City agencies that the Department may deem necessary.  The applicant shall be responsible for submitting any fees, documents, reports, and other information that the various City agencies may require to recommend the proposed encroachment for approval.

Public Works shall hold a public hearing(s) to consider the reports of the various City agencies and to hear any comments and concerns from the general public.  Within thirty- (30) days, after the close of the hearing, the Department shall forward to the Board of Supervisors the Resolution with the Department’s recommendation for approval, disapproval or modification of the proposed encroachment(s).  The applicant and/or his/her authorized representative must attend all hearings conducted by the Department of Public Works, the appropriate Committee of the Board of Supervisors, and the full Board of Supervisors, in order to explain the proposed encroachment(s) or to discuss possible modifications thereto.



The Resolution granted by the Board of Supervisors only constitutes a variance (i.e. a Major Encroachment) and does not allow the applicant or his/her contractor to perform the work unless prior arrangements have been made with Public Works.  In order to construct/install the proposed encroachment, the applicant shall submit a bond and inspection fee to the Department based on the total cost estimate of the work to be performed.  The Department of Public Works will then issue a construction permit, pursuant to approved Resolution.


General Plan Referral Procedure

In addition to requirements listed in Paragraph III of “Information for Encroachments in Sidewalks or Roadway Areas,” the applicant shall submit the following which shall be forwarded to the Planning Department for Master Plan Referral:

  1. Referral letter which includes project description, address, Assessor’s Block and Lot, and zoning classification(s); 

  2. Photocopy of Block Book of subject property(ies); Photographs of the site; 

  3. Sites and Architectural plans and elevations of proposed project (if appropriate); 

  4. Draft, outlining compliance with the Eight Priority Policies (see below) of Planning Code Section 101.1; 

  5. Initial fee payable to Department of City Planning (includes environmental review determination).  Include contact name, address, and phone number for additional DCP billing if applicable.  A time and materials fee will be added after two hours of casework. 


Eight Priority Policies

  1. That existing neighborhood-serving retail uses be preserved and enhanced and future opportunities for resident employment in an ownership of such businesses enhanced; 

  2. That existing housing and neighborhood character be conserved and protected in order to preserve the cultural and economic diversity of our neighborhood; 

  3. That the City’s supply of affordable housing be preserved and enhanced; 

  4. That commuter traffic not impede MUNI transit service or overburden our streets or neighborhood parking. 

  5. That a diverse economic base be maintained by protecting our industrial and service sectors from displacement due to commercial office development, and that future opportunities for resident employment and ownership in these sectors be enhanced; 

  6. That the City achieve the greatest possible preparedness to protect against injury and loss of life in an earthquake; 

  7. That landmarks and historic buildings be preserved; 

  8. That our parks and open space and their access to sunlight and vistas be protected from development. 


All applicants who can comply with all the above guidelines are encouraged to submit an application for permit to: 

San Francisco Public Works • Bureau of Street-Use & Mapping 
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor • San Francisco, CA 94103 • Map
Telephone : (415) 554-5810   Fax: (415) 554-6161
Office Hours : 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Monday through Friday, except official holidays

Note: all cash and check transactions must be submitted before 4:00 p.m.