On November 22, 2021, Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance amending the Pittsburgh Code, Title Four: Public Places and Property, Article I: Public Rights-of-Way, Chapter 416: Obstructions, by adding new definitions and amending permitting requirements for encroachments and minor encroachments. These new changes will allow DOMI to simplify the review and approval process for a Minor Encroachment. The legislation can be found at
Encroachment definitions and requirements can be found on our Applicant Guidance webpage: https://pittsburghpa.gov/domi/row-info.
What is an Encroachment?
An Encroachment Permit allows your privately owned and maintained item or facility to occupy the public right-of-way. DOMI provides no guarantee that encroachments will be approved.
The Department of Mobility and Infrastructure classifies encroachments as Major or Minor:
Major Encroachments are a type of obstruction that is a permanent structure constructed or erected in a fixed location in the public right-of-way that is structurally or otherwise integral to abutting property and are assumed to be conveyed with any transfer of the building to the original permittee’s successors or assigns. Major encroachments include but are not limited to foundations, fences, vaults, retaining walls, ramps, steps, balconies and non-standard infrastructure.
Minor Encroachments are as a type of obstruction that is minor in nature, posing little long-term physical impact on the public space and which can be removed with relative ease. Minor encroachments are often desirable or convenient, but not necessary or required, for the use and enjoyment of private property and will be considered for permit by the City where such encroachment does not interfere with the public’s safety, convenience, use, or enjoyment of the public right-of-way. Minor Encroachments include but are not limited to, planters, benches, bike racks, overhead projecting awnings without footers, overhead projecting signs, building or mechanical equipment that project over the right-of-way (ROW), and most fences.
When do I need to apply for an Encroachment Plan?
You must apply for an Encroachment Plan under the following circumstances:
New Major and Minor Encroachments: An Encroachment Plan application must be submitted for all requests for new Encroachments.
Existing Encroachments: An Encroachment Permit application may be required for an existing Encroachment when:
- no Encroachment Permit application is on file,
- the parcel’s land use or occupancy changes,
- the property owner proposes to modify the Encroachment, or
- the Encroachment requires repair or reconstruction (Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances 416.01).
If you are unsure whether you need an Encroachment Plan for proposed work, please contact the Permit Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do I need to do before applying for an Encroachment?
Before you can apply for your Encroachment Plan, your proposal must go through the Zoning and Development Review (ZDR) process. You should start your ZDR application at OneStopPGH, the City’s online portal. If you have questions about the ZDR process, please email email@example.com. You will need to provide the ZDR number on the OneStopPGH application.
Before applying, please review the Major and Minor Encroachment Guides for more detailed information about the plan types and application process. https://pittsburghpa.gov/domi/row-info
How do I apply for an Encroachment Plan?
Once you have applied with Zoning and obtained a ZDR#, you can start your Encroachment Plan application at OneStopPGH.
What documents do I need to submit with my application?
- A completed paper application. Application can be found @ Encroachment Application.
- A survey prepared by a licensed professional that shows the location, existing property lines, extent of work within the Right-of-Way, and all fixtures installed in the ROW (utility poles, street signs, fire hydrants, steps, etc.);
- Property Owners’ Certificate of Insurance – listing the City of Pittsburgh as an additional insured in the amounts listed
- Public Liability $100,000.00 - $ 300,000.00
- Property Damage $ 50,000.00
- Letters or emails from corresponding utility companies stating approval/easement agreement. (Required for major encroachments). Utility contacts can be found @ Utility Contact List.
- A letter to the Director of DOMI describing the proposed encroachment and its justification for utilizing the right-of-way. Please note the cost of construction on private property is not an acceptable justification. (Required for major encroachments).
- Profile picture or drawing to include elevation and cross section views of the encroaching element showing the property line, sidewalk, curb, and height of the proposed encroachment. (Required for major encroachment).
*Optional documents may be requested at the discretion of the DOMI reviewer, if applicable.
- A Right-of-Way Improvement Plan.
- A letter from the Art Commission with notice of approval.
- A letter to the Director of Mobility and Infrastructure requesting an exception. Must provide clear justification for why the City’s Encroachment specifications and standards cannot be met as well as a proposal for how all detrimental impacts of the proposed Encroachment will be mitigated. DOMI may require additional supporting documentation.
What reviews and inspections are required?
- Zoning and Development Review (ZDR) by the Department of City Planning.
- DOMI Staff reviews including final approval from the Senior Right-of-Way Manager.
- Interdepartmental approvals including Finance, Law, PLI and DPW.
- Major Encroachments require City Council’s review and approval.