Right of Way


Right-of-Way: Overview

What is Meant by the Term Right-of-way? 

A right-of-way (ROW) is a publicly owned land by local and state governments for the purpose of constructing and maintaining roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure to facilitate pedestrian and vehicular movement.  A ROW is also used by the utility companies (Gas, Electric, Water, Sewer, Cable, Fiber optic lines etc.), to install and maintain utilities. 

The ROW is a property owned by the local or state government, similar to the way a property owner owns a private property for a home.  Like a private home, all of the rights and privileges for the use of the ROW vest in the government. Often a plat or survey will show the property line up to the ROW owned by the government.  

What is an Easement?

An easement is a portion of land dedicated to a local or state government (or to a person) by a property owner for a specific purpose. For an example an easement can be dedicated by a property owner for the purpose of constructing and maintaining a sanitary sewer line within a private property to DeKalb County.

How do I locate a ROW? 

There is no universal rule or measurement to locate the ROW.  In most cases, a ROW is deeded to the local government when a developer creates a subdivision plat and records it as a Final Plat.  The ROW is shown in an Exhibit to a closing deed when a house is purchased, with iron pins indicating the property corner/ROW boundary. 

Developments are created differently, and during construction road pavement may not be centered in the ROW and may fluctuate in width.  The width of a ROW varies depending on road classification, ranging from 40-foot to 120-foot.  It is not accurate to describe a ROW as being a set distance from the edge of pavement.

Encroachments into the Rights-of-way

Local and State Governments control and manage encroachments within the right-of-way by Encroachment Permit process. Any encroachments or installations not permitted by the local and state governments are considered illegal and are subject to removal at the owner’s expense. Unauthorized encroachments impede the right-of-way management and create traffic safety issues and delays during City infrastructure or utility projects.

How Do I apply for an Encroachment Permit?

An encroachment permit application can be applied on the city website in CitizenSeve Permitting Portal.


Register at Online portal and complete the application.

What is permitted?

  • One standard driveway per lot (second driveway shall go through City Encroachment application process).
  • One United States Postal Service standard mailbox (USPS standard mailbox can be found in the link below)


What Encroachments considered illegal?

  • Irrigation water lines and irrigation heads
  • Wall and Fences
  • Trees and Shrubs planted for screening purpose (such trees and shrubs shall be planted within private property). If a site distance issue is created by such trees or shrubs, owners will be requested to remove such encroachments entirely from a City right-of-way.
  • Ornamental structures. Owners will be required to remove such structures during any City or Utility projects.
  • Any permanent Signs. These signs will be removed and disposed by the city during any improvement projects.
  • Roof drains directly discharging into the pavement or sidewalk. These concentrated discharges create safety hazard for pedestrians and vehicles. These drains shall discharge into a grasses private yard and slowly flow into a public system.

Notifications for work in a right-of-way  

Although the City of Stonecrest believes that communication with its residents is paramount, it should be pointed out that there is no legal notification requirement for government or utility work that occurs within a ROW.  As it pertains to Stonecrest’s practice of notification for work in a ROW, the notification depends upon what type of work is occurring. 

  1. Work that the city does not perform:  This includes various utility work, such as electric, gas, phone, cable, fiber, water, sewer, etc.  This work requires a permit from the City, but the work is scheduled and performed by other entities.  The City of Stonecrest does not handle any notifications on these activities, but usually the utilities will contact homeowners if their work has a direct impact on homeowners.
  2. Work that the city performs:  City of Stonecrest work is limited to street resurfacing, intersection improvements and sidewalk construction. Contractors hired by City are required to notify residents along the project area to notify by flyers a week ahead of work schedule. The exception is state-maintained highways where all construction and ROW activity is controlled by GDOT, (i.e., Snapfinger Road, Browns Mill Road, Turner Hill Road north of I-20, and Interstate 20 (I-20), access roads and Ramps to I-20)  

    When City of Stonecrest is undertaking a road, sidewalk, or intersection project, we make every attempt to notify impacted property owners as much in advance as reasonably possible to manage expectations of the construction process. This allows residents to make necessary arrangements for unintended encroachments into the ROW (and soon to be construction area). This includes the removal of cars, trees, other shrubs or plants, and irrigation lines, among others. Stonecrest strives to be responsive to its residents and provide the information needed so homeowners can plan accordingly.

    For information about current paving projects, click here

    For information about current sidewalk projects, click here 

  4. Work that DeKalb County performs: DeKalb County is responsible for providing stormwater improvement and maintenance services within City of Stonecrest.  DeKalb County is responsible for notifying residents on any stormwater maintenance or improvement projects. DeKalb County is also responsible for maintaining the right-of-way including, trash pick-up, bulk item pick up, removal of fallen trees that are located within the right-of-way and the right-of-way mowing.  DeKalb County doesn’t notify residents on their schedule when providing these services.

City of Stonecrest supplements right-of-way maintenance services that is provided by DeKalb County at this time.  This service includes picking up trash and mowing on selected (collector and thoroughfare) streets. The city is currently using a contractor to provide this supplemental service and looking to start providing this service by in-house staff sometime in 2023.

City of Stonecrest thrives to maintain trash free well-kept road rights-of-way.  Some voluntary groups also assist the City of Stonecrest in picking up trash from the streets to keep our streets clean.   City is expecting all residents to assist in keeping our streets clean by not throwing trash on our streets.