City Property Use

Construction Projects

Construction projects that will be encroaching upon streets, sidewalks, or other public right-of-way need an encroachment permit.

Often these projects also need a water discharge permit.

Special Events

Special events that will involve City streets, parks, and other City-owned property need a special event permit issued by the Police Department. Be sure to apply for the permit well in advance of the event. You might also need an encroachment permit from Public Works.

In some cases, you will also need an inspection by the Fire Prevention Bureau. Contact them by email for more info.

Special Business Uses

You will need an encroachment permit for outdoor dining, sidewalk sales, and other business- or nonprofit-related activities that involve City property.

Retaining walls that are more than 4 feet tall from bottom of footing to the top of wall, are supporting a structure, or are located on a property line will require a permit or engineering with the Building Division. Should you believe your wall may be exempt from those requirements, please confirm with the Building Division prior to construction as additional triggers may apply.


When considering landscape changes, be advised that private property owners are required to maintain the sidewalk and street landscape planters directly in front of their property. The Duty of Property Owner to Maintain Sidewalks and Public Street Landscape Planters handout.

photo of Petaluma antique fair

Be sure to understand requirements and fees before starting a landscaping project. The best place to start is the Building and Planning Counter at 11 English Street.

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