Right-of-Way Management

Right-of-way (ROW) is land which is owned by the City to provide a location for the construction of streets, sidewalks, and utilities. Typically, the width of public ROW is 50, 60, or 64 feet, although other widths may occur. ROW is always wider than the street. If a 50-foot wide ROW has a 26-foot wide street, then there is a 12-foot wide area behind the curb on both sides of the street which is owned by the City, providing that street is centered in the ROW. Property owners can not encroach upon public ROW with fences, walls, or buildings since this may conflict with the use of ROW for utilities and sidewalks.

Right-Of-Way Permit

A right-of-way permit is required for the following:

  • Sidewalks - New or replacement
  • Driveways - New or replacement
  • Street excavations
  • Any utility work including trenching and directional boring

The City of Dubuque has launched ROWay, an online right-of-way permitting system. ROWay is paperless and designed to make permitting easier and more efficient for applicants and city officials. To apply for a permit, you must register for ROWay and create an account.

Sidewalk Café  Permit

A permit for a sidewalk café is required to operate a restaurant, retail business, and/or food service establishment in the public right-of-way where sidewalk cafes are allowed. Restaurants must be permitted or listed as accessory use in the zoning district where they are located. The sidewalk café area must be contiguous with a side of the building within which the business is located. The business must be licensed by the Iowa Department of Inspection & Appeals. 

Excavation Policy

Any excavation work that occurs in the City Right of Way must follow the City's Excavation Policy, please see Excavation Policy for more information.

Tree Planting in City Right-of-Way 

If you want information about requesting a tree be planted between the sidewalk and the curb, please see Tree Planting in City Right of Way

Vacating a Public Right-of-Way

The City Engineer’s office manages the process of vacating an area of public right-of-way (streets or alleys) in the City of Dubuque.