Road Right of Way
Township Road Right-of-Way
All Township roads are located on land that is referred to as road right-of-way. The road right-of-way provides the space needed for the road surface, roadside shoulders, drainage systems, aerial and underground public utilities, sidewalks or non-motorized paths, and traffic signs.
The width of the Township road right-of-way can vary however, the general rule of thumb is that the road right-of-way is 33 feet wide, approximately 16 ½ feet measured from the center of the road on both sides. The width of some Township roads and most State roads are greater than 33 feet wide.
Because the Township has the responsibility to maintain roads in a safe condition for travel, property owners are not allowed to install, construct, place any item or work within the road right-of-way without a permit. The exception to this rule is that a mailbox may be installed. Owners are responsible to ensure that the mailbox doesn’t extend over the edge of the road surface making it susceptible to plow damage.
All non-approved objects placed or work conducted within the road right- of-way are considered to be encroachments which include but are not limited to: cultivating, plowing, or planting; depositing of stone, rocks, trash, grass, yard waste, or debris of any kind; draining swimming pools, sump pumps, downspouts or any other facility; trees or shrubs growing into the right-of-way; installation of fencing, driveway access or placement of anything else such as recreation equipment.
Encroachments in the right-of-way may be removed by the Township without prior notice to the property owner or the Township may choose to notify the owner that they must remove the encroachment or face legal action. The Township is not responsible for any damage to encroachments caused by removal or maintenance within the right-of-way.
Contact the Township first before doing anything in the right-of-way even if it is meant to be temporary to learn what regulations there are and what permits you may need.
If you are considering the installation of something close to the right-of-way line like a retaining wall, landscaping, fencing, etc. it is recommended that you use a surveyor or engineering firm to determine the actual location of the road right-of-way line so you don’t have to later remove your improvement because it’s in the right-of-way. At the very least you should verify the width of the right-of-way and then back off an added three plus feet from your measured line.
Lastly if you are going to landscape your property, you will want to make sure that you plant your trees or shrubs far enough back from the right-of-way that when they mature the foliage doesn’t extend over the line.