Guide: Right-of-Way Permits in D.C., VA, or MD

Are you getting ready to start a construction, renovation, or land development project in the D.C. metro area? Maybe in Virginia or Maryland? Before you break ground, there’s an essential step you likely need to take: obtaining a right-of-way permit. This vital document ensures that your project meets safety codes and regulations for land use. But navigating the permit process can be tricky and time-consuming. That’s where we come in.

Here we will walk you through the right-of-way permit requirements in Washington, D.C., Arlington County, VA., and Montgomery County, MD., just three of the many jurisdictions DFM works with. These jurisdictions serve as examples of what we can do in D.C., VA, and MD. If you’re wondering why you should bother expediting this commonly required permit, we’ll cover that too. But first, let’s look at what a right-of-way permit is.

What is a Right-of-Way Permit?

A right-of-way permit is a common requirement for construction projects. Essentially, it grants the permit holder permission to use a portion of public property for a specified period of time. The permit is typically required for projects involving the construction, repair, or maintenance of infrastructure that will affect public property, such as roads, sidewalks, alleyways, and utility lines.

The right-of-way permit ensures that the project meets safety codes and requirements while adhering to the jurisdiction’s laws and regulations surrounding land use practices. Obtaining a right-of-way permit can be a complex and time-consuming process, and failure to obtain one can result in legal and financial consequences for project owners. That’s why it’s important to know everything you can about right-of-way permits and to work with a professional expediter.

Right-of-Way Permits in Washington, D.C

Washington, D.C. defines public property as all publicly-owned property. The public property captures all the property between the property lines on a street, including but not limited to: alleys, sidewalks, tree spaces, and roadways.

Closely associated with the right-of-way requirements is right-of-way work. Right-of-way work refers to any construction taking place near or on public property.

Contractors, developers, and property owners are required to closely observe the rules and regulations surrounding the right-of-way work in Washington D.C.:

  • In Washington, D.C., contractors are confined to certain obligations when using land or spaces identified or recognized as the right-of-way.
  • No owner or occupier of land is required to erect buildings or many other adjustments in spaces recognized as public.
  • Any work that is conducted in an area recognized as a right-of-way shall require a street-use permit to show that the contractor has obtained consent from State authorities to pursue any construction, adjustment, amendments, or raze of any part of a building sitting on the right-of-way.
  • The contractor will be responsible for maintaining the free flow of traffic while the work is being undertaken in an area considered as ‘right-of-way’

The objective of the right-of-way laws and regulations is to ensure that contractors, whether public or private, do not inhibit the free and safe movement of people and traffic when conducting their construction projects.

Right-of-Way Permits in Arlington County, VA

Just like the District of Columbia, Arlington County has specific guidelines for the right-of-way.

Contractors are required to adhere to the following guidelines when conducting operations in lands recognized as the right-of-way:

  • Unless otherwise permitted, no contractor shall pursue construction or adjustment projects beyond standard operating hours which are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.
  • Work is strictly prohibited during commuter rush hours which range from 7 am to 9 am and from 4 pm to 6 pm.
  • The laws further provide that any excavation work in the Arlington County right-of-way must be conducted by a licensed permit holder. The contractor must be a licensed permit holder with a Class A, B, or C permit.
  • Contractors are required to submit a transportation right-of-way application to construct, raze, repair, or excavate lands located in the right-of-way.
  • The application for the right-of-way must be submitted within a minimum of five days before the commencement of the project.
  • The guidelines provide that if work activity on the sidewalk or street closures will preclude access to businesses or homes, the contractor must submit a letter via mail before the start of the construction project.

The Arlington County right-of-way guidelines provide that all contractors responsible for intercepting public spaces must meet the underlying guidelines before the commencement of projects.

Right-of-Way Permits in Montgomery County, MD

The Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services is responsible for establishing, documenting, and enforcing all laws and policies related to the public right-of-way.

According to the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services, contractors must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • All contractors must review ePlan submittal requirements for the public right-of-way.
  • The right-of-way regulations apply to all construction work zones that affect or inhibit public land use and which are related to easing public improvement.
  • The Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services absolves itself from any damages that may occur to a utility resulting from routine right-of-way roadside maintenance.
  • Contractors responsible for all private construction projects must adhere to the laws and regulations governing the right-of-way land before, during, and after any construction, excavation, and maintenance projects.

Why Expedite Right-of-Way Permit?

Expediting your right-of-way provides you with multiple opportunities. First and foremost, permit expediting absolves you from the tiresome and time-consuming process of familiarizing yourself with the laws and regulations surrounding land use practices.

Secondly, you save money because you do not travel or file documentation required for the application of a right-of-way permit.

Most importantly, permit expediting saves you time, allowing you to concentrate purely on your construction projects without worrying about any legal limitations.

DFM Development Services — Your Certified and Trusted Right-of-Way Permit Expediter in D.C., VA, or MD

Luckily, DFM Development Services enables developers, contractors, and property owners to navigate the complex paperwork for right-of-way permits. We do our due diligence on your commercial project and identify any relevant documentation required for right-of-way permit approvals.

Contact us for right-of-way permits in D.C., VA, or MD. Visit our website to see a complete list of jurisdictions we work with.

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About DFM

DFM Development Services is the leading Red Tape Consultancy in the DC Metro Region, specializing in navigating complex and time-consuming regulatory processes for Real Estate Development and AEC Industry Professionals.

From expediting complex building permits and the bond release process to ensuring environmental compliance and precise dry utility design, our tailor-made approach empowers you to confidently move forward with your project, knowing you’ve successfully met all compliance requirements.

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