Public Works

Right-of-Way

What is the Right-of-Way?

As a general rule of thumb, the right-of-way can be estimated to extend 11 feet from the back of the curb or edge of the street pavement. However, to determine the actual right-of-way on a particular property you need to check Jackson County property records and/or do a survey. While the property owner is required to maintain this area, the City has the responsibility to ensure appropriate and safe use of the right-of-way. For example, sight obstructions, signs and basketball goals are not allowed.

Sidewalks

It is the property owner's responsibility to maintain a safe walking surface on sidewalks adjacent to their property. The City requires the owner or occupant of a house with a sidewalk to maintain the sidewalk at the established grade of the sidewalk, not above or below the established grade. Sidewalks must be kept in good order and clear of ice, snow, dirt or other substances that obstruct or render the sidewalk dangerous. If sidewalks are unsafe, the property owner may be required to obtain a Right-of-Way Permit and make repairs to bring the sidewalk back into compliance with City Code. For more information on sidewalk requirements, please email rehlers@indepmo.org.

Curbs

There are two types of curbs: roll-back and square-back. Most areas have roll-back curbs. Some areas have no curbs at all. Curbs are not part of the street and are, therefore, the responsibility of the property owner to maintain.

Working in the Right-of-Way

A permit must be obtained for any work performed in the right-of-way. For example, replacing a sidewalk, curb, driveway or driveway pipe all require a permit. Right-of-Way Permits are charged by individual location, or per 200 linear feet of work. Permit fees are $90 for the application and inspection. For information, call (816) 325-7614 or (816) 325-7594, or email rehlers@indepmo.org.

Apply for a Right-of-Way Permit

There are three ways to apply for a Right-of-Way Permit.

  1. Come in to the Public Works office at City Hall and fill out an application
  2. Download and print an application and bring it to the Public Works office at City Hall.
  3. Apply online

Here's a document so you may review the General Standards of Right-of-Way.

What are Utility Easements?

These are areas where a utility (ex: Power & Light, Missouri Gas Energy, etc.) has permission to enter a property to maintain utility lines. A utility easement may or may not be in the right-of-way. For more information, contact the specific utility.

Clean Up Test

Public Works Street Maintenance picks up trash that has been illegally dumped in the street and tree limbs that fall into the street. It's important to clean up the trash quickly before it attracts further dumping or causes an accident. If you catch a dumper in the act, call the Police Department at 325-7960.

Aesthetic Standards for Permitted Work

The City maintains aesthetic standards for all new development and construction implementations. The goal of these standards is to create an enhanced environment for all those who live, work, play, and do business in the City of Independence.

Private property aesthetic standards are maintained in the Uniform Development Ordinance (UDO) located in Chapter 14 of the City Code. Aesthetic requirements are subject to applicable zoning standards and may vary from location to location. Private property construction, installations, and modifications are subject to applicable aesthetic standards.

In addition to the standards set forth by the UDO, any work to be performed in the public right-of-way requires additional permitting and review. The following aesthetic standards are set forth in the Chapter 17 Article 5 of City Code:

Above-Ground Facilities                                        

  • Wherever feasible, utility cabinets should be placed in rear yards or other areas not visible from the street right-of-way.
  • Cabinets and other structures to shelter and house equipment shall be screened in a manner to make them less aesthetically obtrusive to the area and painted a color that blends in with the surroundings.
  • The maximum size of such a cabinet allowed in a commercial area or within the ROW for an arterial or through street will be 64 cubic feet and the maximum size of such a cabinet allowed in a residential area or within the right-of-way for a residential street will be 25 cubic feet.
  • For determination if the size of the cabinet or structure incommodes the public, interferes with abutting landowner rights as recognized by Missouri and federal law, will:
    • interfere or impede a public works project already identified by the City,
    • overwhelms the immediate area rendering it out of scale with adjacent structures, landscaping and already existing uses,
    • impedes or interferes with other ROW-user rights and access to their own, facilities and equipment,
    • degrades the integrity of historical locations and landmarks,
    • or otherwise interferes with traffic both vehicular and pedestrian.
  • No above-ground facility, cabinet, or storage/housing structure or fixture located on the right-of-way shall exceed any the limits set forth in the Unified Development Ordinance and City Code without consent of the Director and review and approval of the City's Planning Commission for a determination of the impact of such a facility, cabinet, or storage/housing structure on surrounding uses including view and plantings and sight triangles and mitigation of impact that may be accomplished if such a facility, cabinet, or storage/housing structure is allowed.
  • No above-ground facility, cabinet, or storage/housing structure shall be placed on the right-of-way in such a way as to impede or prohibit direct access by another ROW-user to its facilities or any sight triangles or in such a way as to impede access and use for the disabled, handicapped, or pedestrians and vehicles in the normal use of the right-of-way. Cabinets should be located outside the ROW in private easements whenever possible.
    • A suitable reason must be presented to the Director for each cabinet location to be considered for placement in the ROW. The reason must detail why locations outside of the ROW are not possible.

A full description of all requirements for activity and items located in the right-of-way is provided in Chapter 17 Article 5 of the Independence City Code.

Historic and Environmental Sensitivities

The City of Independence is home to a rich history and environment. With this comes historic and environmental sensitivities. Construction within historically significant or environmentally sensitive areas (such as, but not limited to, the Historic Square, Englewood Arts District, places on the National Historic Register and/or Landmarks, and the Little Blue Valley) must maintain historical and environmental standards per applicable city, state, and federal requirements so not to disrupt the historical preservation or function of those areas. New construction or modification in identified areas may be subject to the review and approval. New appurtenances must be constructed in a manner that upholds the integrity of the historical or environmental nature of the surrounding area.