A Surface-Mounted Facility (SMF) Permit is required for construction or installation of a SMF in any Public Right-of-Ways that are under the jurisdiction of Public Work. A SMF means any Utility facility (physical element or structure) that is installed, attached, or affixed in the Public Right-of-Ways on a site that is above the surface of the street (except a utility pole or associated appurtenances) and that requires the Permittee to excavate in order to install the facility in the Public Right-of-Ways. SMFs do not include bus shelters and associated kiosks.
Permit Application and Requirements
SMF permit applications are completed electronically by way of obtaining a user registration and working within the online Street Use Permitting System. To register as a user, please contact the Bureau of Street Use & Mapping by calling 415-554-5810 or by email at BSMPermitDivision@sfdpw.org.
Pre-Application Location Approval Process
Prior to submitting an application, an Applicant must first obtain the department’s approval of the proposed location for the SMF. This process begins with an Applicant’s initial site selection. An Applicant shall conduct a thorough survey of the area where it seeks to install a surface-mounted facility to identity its preferred locations for the Surface-Mounted Facility. The applicant must identify at least two Preferred Locations.
Criteria for Preferred Locations
In selecting its Preferred Locations, the Applicant should seek to minimize the effect the placement of the Surface-Mounted Facility will have on use of the Public Right-of-Ways by, among other things:
Placing the Surface-Mounted Facility in the Public Right-of-Ways so as to maintain an appropriate path of travel along the sidewalk, paying particular attention to the needs of persons with disabilities. To the extent feasible, an Applicant shall locate the Surface-Mounted Facilities on streets where pedestrian travel is minimal.
Placing the Surface-Mounted Facility in the Public Right-of-Ways so that the Aesthetic Character of the streetscape will not be unreasonably affected by the installation of the Surface-Mounted Facility. Unless no other location is feasible, the Applicant should avoid using sidewalks that: (A) are narrower than the City's standard sidewalk in the applicable zoning district as set forth in the Better Streets Plan; or (B) have special paving or other special design features.
Ensuring that the Surface-Mounted Facility will not obstruct access to other facilities that are installed or the Department knows are to be installed in the Public Right-of-Ways by other entities including City departments and entities providing Utility services.
Placing the Surface-Mounted Facility in a location that is consistent with the City's General Plan, Better Streets Plan, and any applicable Neighborhood or Streetscape Plans.
Placing the Surface-Mounted Facility in a location that is consistent with the Placement Criteria.
Placing the Surface-Mounted Facility in a location that will not unreasonably affect the Aesthetic Character of a City park or open space.
The following locations are disfavored, and the Department shall not issue a Surface-Mounted Facility Site Permit in these disfavored locations unless the Applicant can show that no other option is available:
On Public Right-of-Ways where all Utility facilities are undergrounded.
On Public Right-of-Ways where the City has completed or has plans for major capital improvements, including streetscape and pedestrian safety improvements.
On Public Right-of-Ways that are known for having a high level of pedestrian traffic (e.g. Neighborhood Commercial zoning districts).
On Public Right-of-Ways that are adjacent to or that will affect the view of a Historic Resource or that are within a Historic Resource in which any existing street furniture contributes to the historic nature of the Historic Resource.
On Public Right-of-Ways that the San Francisco General Plan has designated as being most significant to City pattern, defining City form, having an important street view for orientation, or having views that are rated "excellent" or "good."
On Public Right-of-Ways that are adjacent to a City park or open space, unless the Department finds that such locations could be used to minimize the effect on the Aesthetic Character of the City park or open space.
On Public Right-of-Ways that are adjacent to a public or private elementary or middle school.
Community Input on Preferred Locations
The Pre-Application Approval Process shall require participation in a community meeting in which the Applicant shall discuss its Preferred Locations for a Surface-Mounted Facility with local residents and business owners. At the community meeting, the Applicant shall discuss: (1) all feasible locations for the proposed Surface-Mounted Facility, which may include specific locations or zones, but in no case fewer than two Preferred Locations for the proposed Surface-Mounted Facility shall be identified and discussed; (2) any technological limitations to the location of the proposed Surface-Mounted Facility; and (3) the process for the public to object to the Applicant's Preferred Locations.
Notice of Intent to Submit an Application
As part of the Pre-Application Approval Process, the Department shall require an Applicant to notify the public that the Applicant has submitted a Notice of Intent to the Department. The Applicant shall send a copy of the Notice of Intent to all Persons owning or occupying any property located within 300 feet along either side of the fronting streets of any of the Preferred Locations for the Surface-Mounted Facility. The Applicant shall post a copy of the Notice of Intent in conspicuous places along the Public Right-of-Ways within 300 feet of either side of the fronting streets of any of Applicant's Preferred Locations for the Surface-Mounted Facility. The Applicant shall send a copy of the Notice of Intent to any neighborhood planning association identified by the Planning Department for any neighborhood within 300 feet of any of the Applicant's Preferred Locations for the Surface-Mounted Facility. The Notice of Intent shall be in a form as included in Order 182933.
Protest of Applicant’s Preferred Locations and Public Hearings
As part of the Pre-Application Approval Process, the Department shall allow any Person affected by a proposed Surface-Mounted Facility to protest an Applicant's Preferred Locations for a Surface-Mounted Facility. A protest must be in writing and must be submitted to the Department within 10 days of the date the Notice of Intent was mailed and posted as required under Section 2713. If a protest is timely submitted, the Department shall hold a hearing. The Department shall set a date for the hearing no more than 20 days after the Department's receipt of the protest. The hearing officer shall issue a written report and recommendation within 5 days of the close of evidence. The Director shall issue a written decision adopting, modifying, or rejecting the hearing officer's written report and recommendation within 5 days of the Director's receipt of the hearing officer's report.
An application will include but not be limited to a site plan that has:
A title block containing the designer(s) name and contact information, the project name, and wet signature for final approved set; the project address (if small project); and sheet numbers
Street name (and width as related to location of excavation)
Names of cross streets
Distance from nearest cross street to the Surface-Mounted Facility
Face of curb (“FOC”)
Property lines (“PLs”)
Distance from FOC to face of the Surface-Mounted Facility
Distance from FOC to PLs
Distance from FOC to back of the Surface-Mounted Facility
Locations and dimensions (if known) of existing above-ground street furniture (utility poles, bus shelters, fire hydrants, garbage receptacles, parking meters, etc) and distance from the proposed location of the Surface-Mounted Facility
Locations and dimensions (if known) of existing underground utility facilities (vaults, manholes, handholds, meters, etc.) and distance from the proposed location of the Surface-Mounted Facility
Identification of Surface-Mounted Facility type and dimensions including any appurtenances
Color of the Surface-Mounted Facility
Distance from any driveways, curb ramps, or blue zone parking spaces
Representation of any existing or required street tree
Upon receipt of an Application, the Department shall first determine whether the Application is complete. The Department will notify the Applicant within 3 days whether the
Application is complete. The Department shall then either approve or deny the Application and issue a final determination.
The contractor must have:
A current California Contractors License – Class A
A current Business Tax Registration Certificate issued by the City and County of San Francisco Tax Collector’s Office pursuant to Section 1003 of Part III of the San Francisco Municipal Code
A valid Certificate of Liability Insurance or have one on file with BSM
A Street Excavation Bond filed and maintained with the Department of Public Works for a minimum amount of $25,000.00 (required to guarantee the backfill, pavement restoration, maintenance of the restored roadway area for a period of three (3) years following the completion of said work pursuant to Article 2.4 of the Public Works Code)
All fees shall be paid prior to the issuance of the permit. Acceptable payment methods include: check (made out to San Francisco Public Works), credit card (Visa or Mastercard), or cash (exact amount only). Fees may be charged by the Planning and Recreation & Parks Departments for their review of the application materials.
Beginning with fiscal year 2015-2016, fees established by Public Works Code Article 27 may be adjusted each year, without further action by the Board of Supervisors, to reflect changes in the relevant Consumer Price Index.
Pre-application administrative fee: $154
Preferred location list review
If hearing required, hearing fee: $154
If hearing required, newspaper posting fee: TBD
Murals (unique to each application): TBD
In-lieu fee for Adopt-a-Tree: $1,801
Inspection fee (T&M): <= $500
* Fees for murals, landscaping, and street trees may vary and are unique to each application.
* Per Public Works Code Article 27, the Department has the discretion to charge additional fees if a review is or will be unusually costly.
* A City department may determine that it requires the services of a technical expert in order to evaluate an Application. The department will seek reimbursement of those fees prior to Application approval (PWC Code Article 27_.
Application shall be filed and approved a minimum of 10 business days prior to the proposed start date.
At least 72 hours prior to start date, the contractor shall contact the Street Improvement Inspection Section to schedule a pre-construction meeting (415-554-7149).
The contractor shall call Underground Service Alert (U.S.A.), telephone number 800-642-2444, 72 hours prior to any excavation.
The contractor shall verify the locations of any City or public service utility company facilities that may be affected by the work authorized by this permit and shall assume all responsibility for any damage to such facilities. The Permittee shall make satisfactory arrangements and payments for any necessary temporary relocation of City or public utility company facilities.
The contractor shall conduct construction operations in accordance with the requirements of Article 11 of the Traffic Code. The Permittee shall contact the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, telephone (415) 701-4500, for specific restrictions prior to starting work.
All restoration shall be performed per Article 2.4 of the Public Works Code and Public Works Order 178,940. All work including sidewalk and pavement cutting and removal, lagging, excavation, backfill, and sidewalk and pavement restoration shall be done by a licensed paving contractor and in accordance with the requirements of the Standard Specifications of the Bureau of Engineering, Department of Public Works, July 1986 Edition, Public Works Order Nos. 135,595; 135,596; 176,707 and Board of Supervisors’ Ordinance #131-07.
Standard Plans & Specifications
All permitted excavations into the street pavement and/or concrete sidewalk within the Public Right-of-Ways shall be restored per City Standard Plans and Specifications.
Surface Mounted Facility Resources:
For more information or clarification on any of the permit requirements, please contact us at:
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.