Utility & Right-Of-Way Permit Program


The right of way is public property and includes any public thoroughfare such as a street, road or alley. It also usually includes the median, utility poles, sidewalks, and the area immediately adjacent to the street. A good rule of thumb is that the back of the sidewalk (side nearest to the residence) and the street is part of the right of way. Private property begins behind the right of way.  The exact location of the ROW boundary line can only be determined by locating the property corner pins for a property or hiring a licensed surveyor to set the property corner pins for a property.


 Examples include:

  • Sidewalk repairs
  • Sanitary Sewer line excavations and connections
  • Driveway repairs or installations
  • Culvert installations
  • Storm Sewer line excavations and connections
  • Utility repair or installation
  • Private water & sewer line connections
  • Sidewalk construction where there is an existing curb
  • Dumpster or storage pod located in ROW 
  • Parking Lane Closures
  • Road, Alley or Sidewalk Closures

Landscaping work (i.e. gardening, planting) done in the City right-of-way requires a Landscape License.

UTILITY & RIGHT-OF-WAY permits are $83.

NEW: Apply for a Utility and ROW Permit online


Signs that are for short-term, timed use shall be allowed in the City’s right-of-way as long as the signs are removed immediately following the event.  Such signs would include garage sale signs, political campaign signs, significant University of Illinois events (i.e. IHSA tournaments) and fund-raising advertisements for non-profit agencies (i.e. UBA events, Festival of Lights).

No such signs shall be affixed to any City or utility infrastructure including traffic signals, streetlights, street sign posts, utility poles, hydrants, etc. but rather shall be attached to a self-supported stake or post.

Signs that have no definitive time for removal shall not be allowed in the City’s right-of-way.  Such signs would include newspaper stands, real estate signs, and home business signs or advertising, except as allowed in the Urbana Zoning Ordinance, Section IX-5-13.  

If these signs were placed in the right-of-way, the City will try to notify the owner of the signs and ask that the signs be removed immediately (within 48 hours). If the owner cannot be located or does not remove the signs, the City shall remove the signs and let the owner know where to collect the signs. If the owner of the signs cannot be located, the signs will be discarded after thirty (30) days. Otherwise, the signs would be discarded five (5) days after notification.

A property owner may remove any political campaign sign directly in front of said property placed in the public right-of-way.


Yes. But signs must be freestanding on poles, legs, or wires that are stuck into the ground within the ROW. Lost pet signs CANNOT be attached to City light poles, traffic signal poles, traffic signs, street name signs, and trees.

Contact Reference: 

Adam Shaw  (217) 384-2360

- Last Modified -August 9, 2023 - 11:48am
- Author - Visitor