The City of Key West, Florida

The Southernmost City in th Continental United States

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Right-of-Way FAQs

What is a Right-Of-Way? Why do I need a permit?

The original modern developers of the City of Key West designated certain routes in the City as public "Rights-of-Way" to allow commerce to exist. Businesses and residents need to have avenues to transport goods and move around the island. The City was granted designated Right-of-Ways, which are required to be maintained for the purpose of allowing people the right of passage.

The City must maintain the streets in a manner that is conducive to the passage of people and goods. The City has the responsibility to ensure that use of the Right-of-Way maintains proper public access and the infrastructure is properly designed and installed.

"Right-of-Way" permits are required for all construction and landscape work and for any use of the Right-of-Way (ie: signs, trash receptacles and dumpsters, construction laydown areas, and bike racks). Permits are required for filling low spots with rock, asphalting on the edge of pavement, sidewalks, and brick driveways.

"Maintenance of Traffic" permits are required when any use of the Right-of-Way will cause a temporary blockage of the street, sidewalk or parking lanes. These requirements include cones, barricades, flaggers, and other means to ensure vehicles and pedestrian trafficare routed safely.

Who is working on our streets?

There are a number of utilities and thier contractors which use the City's Rights-of-Way. These include AT&T, Comcast Cable, City Sewer, City Storm Water, City of Key West Landscaping crews, Keys Energy Services, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, as well as petroleum pipe lines.

Do you coordinate the work?

Yes. The City is a member of the Utility Coordination Association, and we meet monthly to update each other on projects. We maintain a five-year plan for all utility work and attempt to schedule projects on the same road in the same time period to reduce costs of asphalt overlay. Sometimes, work can not be coordinated due to the nature of, or extent of, repairs or funding availability.

Which roads are the County's and the State's responsibility?

Monroe County is responsible for maintaining the street portion of the following Rights-of-Way (the City maintains the sidewalks):
  • Eaton Street
  • Palm Avenue
  • the 400 block of Whitehead Street
  • 1st Street
  • Bertha Street
  • Flagler Avenue
TheFlorida D.O.T. maintains:
  • North Roosevelt Boulevard
  • South Roosevelt Boulevard
  • Truman Avenue
  • the 500 - 900 blocks of Whitehead Street

Who do I call with storm drain problems, comments, or questions?

Sanitary sewer (the sewer servicing your house) questions should be referred to OMI, a contract service of the Utilities Department at 292-5100. Storm drain questions should be referred to the Utilities Department at 809-3902.

Why do street drains flood every time it rains?

Build up from street debris or falling leaves accumulates at storm grates. If you want to help, you can use a shovel or rake to clear off the top of the grate. If this does not correct the problem, contact the Utilities Department at 809-3902.

Also, it is not cost effective to build storm drainage pipes large enough to handle every storm. Local streets are designed to be temporarily covered by water during heavy storms.

My neighbor directs storm run-off to my property. What can I do?

The City of Key West is responsible for seeing that the drainage from public streets is properly handled. Water flowing onto your property from privately owned property is a matter between the private property owners. We suggest you talk with your neighbor and work together to arrive at a solution. The City has no specific codes or jurisdiction over storm drainage from one private lot flowing into another private lot.

When will the City come to clean out the plugged street drain?

During heavy storms, Public Works and OMI crews are very busy and cannot be everywhere at one time. The City appreciates help from the public. If there is a plugged drain or grate over a culvert adjacent to your property, we encourage you to take preventive measures, if you are able, and clear it out rather than wait to report a problem. To report a drainage problem, call 809-3902.

There is a storm drainage assessment on my property tax statement. If there is no inlet on my street, why do I pay this fee?

The fee is to help pay to build a storm drainage system that will prevent a storm sewer overflow into the outstanding Florida waters.

Why did I get a Sidewalk Repair Notice?

City code states that public sidewalks are to be maintained by the adjacent property owners. If a citizen complains about an unsafe sidewalk, it will be inspected after the complaint is received. If it is found to be hazardous, a repair notice will be sent to the adjacent property owner.

What is a sidewalk hazard?

Sidewalk inspectors look for hazards that cause people to trip and fall. For example, sidewalks that are raised, badly cracked, or have holes and rough spots or damage by tree roots may be hazardous. Guidelines suggest lips or settlement exceeding ¾" may be considered a hazard. Hazards may be reported to the Engineering Services Department at 809-3965.

How do I get sidewalk repairs made?

Once they are notified that a hazard exists, property owners have 30 days to complete repairs either by doing the work themselves, hiring a contractor or asking the City to make repairs. A City permit is required for sidewalk repair within the City right-of-way. Fees or bonds are based on the linear footage of sidewalk being replaced. The City also provides property owners with an inspection to be sure that the repair is completed according to City code. Permits can be downloaded from the Engineering Department section on this website or obtained at the Engineering Services officelocated at 1300 White Street. Call 809-3965 for further information.

Does a property owner need a permit to complete sidewalk repairs?

Yes. Property owners who complete their own work in the right-of-way must obtain a permit from the Engineering Services office at 1300 White Street. This permit offers inspections for forms and final finish work. Information is available to property owners who need advice on how to make repairs. Inspections are included in the permit. Call 809-3965 for more information.

How does the City determine where curb ramps will be installed?

ADA accessible curb ramps are installed on all newly constructed corners. Curb ramps are installed any time an existing corner requires reconstruction or by request. Some ramps will be placed in the downtown area or installed where none exist.

Where can contractors get information to bid on city sidewalk repair work?

The City of Key West advertises all major city contracts in the Citizen. Information can also be obtained on line at DemandStar, www.demandstar.com, or by phone at 1-800-711-1712.

How do I get permission to plant or remove a street tree?

A Right of Way permit is required to remove a tree or plant trees and other plantings on the City's Right of Way. Contact the Engineering Services Department, 809-3965, AND the Landscape Division of the Planning Department, 809-3764. A Landscaping permit is required before a right of way permit will be issued.
 
Do I need a permit to put a dumpster in front of my house or business?
 
If the container is placed on private property, a permit is not required. If there is no room on the private property and it is necessary to use the right of way, a permit is required. Permits for dumpsters may only be applied for by the Dumpster Company supplying the container. They are responsible for the placement of the container and removal of the container. A property owner may not apply for a dumpster permit.