Know the rules for working in right of way

Know the rules for working in right of way
Posted on 03/30/2023

The right of way along residential streets is usually the area from the sidewalk to the street, or about 11 feet behind the curb. It’s dedicated for public infrastructure like streets, storm sewers, sidewalks, streetlights and other utilities — but it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain right of way, including mowing grass and caring for trees.

You may be interested in making some other upgrades to this area, like landscaping or drainage improvements. Here’s what you can and can’t do — and can do with a permit — in the right of way.


  • Planting, removing or maintaining trees between the curb and sidewalk
  • Installing a mailbox
  • Installing and maintaining irrigation
  • Placing small landscape rock as a ground cover (no large rocks/boulders that would impede a vehicle)

Requires a permit

Apply for a permit at

  • Excavation outside the items listed above
  • Installing or maintaining private stormwater drainage, like French drains, down spouts and sump pumps

Any time you’re digging, including planting trees and shrubs, you must have your utility lines marked. At least two days before you plan to dig, request this service at Kansas or call 800.DIG.SAFE.


  • Permanent structures
  • Sports goals (permanent or temporary)
  • Fences
  • Any signs (except temporary signs only allowed during election cycles)
  • Landscaping beyond tree planting or using small rock as ground cover
  • Retaining walls
  • Anything that would obscure sightlines or cause street and sidewalk safety concerns

Utility work in the right of way
The City encourages utility companies to notify homeowners as a courtesy before starting work in the right of way. But property owners and the City can’t prevent a utility company from working in the right of way – we’re prohibited by state and federal law.

Published March 30, 2023