Right of Way Occupancy Permits (ROW Permits)
Right of Way Occupancy Permits (ROW Permits) are revocable licenses issued to individuals, utility companies, governmental entities and businesses that allow for occupancy of the District’s rights of way for permanent or temporary improvements or activities.
While it is often presumed that the District’s rights of way only include the more than 2,200 miles of canals and levees that comprise the regional flood control system, designated rights of way also include the water conservation areas (WCAs) located east and south of Lake Okeechobee and many of the larger lakes located north of Lake Okeechobee. Rights of way subject to the issuance of ROW Permits are called “Works of the District”, a designation rendered by action of the District’s Governing Board.
Protecting the Flood Control System and the Environment
ROW Permits protect the District’s ability to effectively maintain and operate the regional flood control system and the environment while also allowing for essential facilities (e.g., bridges and utility crossings) and compatible recreational uses (e.g., linear parks, trails, docks, and marinas) within the right of way. Applications for ROW Permits are required to include specific details about the proposed improvements or activity, complete construction plans (if an improvement is proposed in the right of way) and, in most cases, an application fee.
Upon receipt of a completed application, the proposed improvements or use are evaluated to determine compliance with the District’s criteria for use of the rights of way. In addition, the application is reviewed to ensure that the proposal does not adversely impact operations and maintenance of the regional flood control system, water quality, the environment, and District goals and objectives. If the District determines that a ROW Permit can be issued, the construction of improvements or commencement of use may proceed, subject to District oversight and enforcement.
ROW Permits and Use of the District's Rights of Way
A ROW Permit is a revocable license that authorizes the use of the District’s right of way. With exception of utilities and governmental entities, a ROW Permit may be revoked at any time and without cause. Applicants should keep this in mind when proposing to expend significant monies in the District’s right of way. Furthermore, issuance of a ROW Permit does not convey any interest or vested right in the right of way or obligate the District to ensure that the right of way, including canals, is available for an applicant’s proposed improvements or use.
All applicants are required to agree to limiting conditions of the ROW Permit, which include, among other things, responsibility for all liability and indemnification on behalf of the District in the event of damage or injury. Use of the District’s right of way without having first obtained a ROW Permit is a violation of law and may result in removal of the improvements in the right of way, the imposition of civil penalties, or both.
On May 3, 2021, the District implemented online permitting for ROW Permits called ROW E-Permitting. ROW E-Permitting replaces paper application submittal and allows for:
- Online filing of applications for new and/or modified permits, permit transfers, and permit extensions.
- Payments by credit card or e-check.
- Electronic submittal of insurance renewals, financial assurance documents, and documents required for permit closeout, such as as-built drawings.
- Elimination of paper applications and site plans.
- Applicant self-service to view application status, permit records, and inspection results.
- Electronic delivery of documents, notices, and updates to applicants (e.g., requests for additional information (RAIs), scheduling of inspections, etc.).
Filing of applications using ROW E-Permitting is required for all application types. The District is no longer accepting applications by mail or email.
A New and Separate District User Account is Required
A new and separate District user account must be created to submit ROW Permit applications via ROW E-Permitting. Applicants may not use the same user account created for other District permitting (e.g., ERP, Water Use, etc.) for ROW E-Permitting.
Payment Required at the Time an Application is Filed Online
Payment is required at the time an application is filed using the ROW E-Permitting system. The payment must be made by the party who completes and submits the online application. There is no means for one party to enter the application information and for another party to make the required payment.
How to Use ROW E-Permitting
ROW E-Permitting is easy and convenient. For the best experience, the District recommends that users read the available helpful tips for use of ROW E-Permitting prior to filing an application. During the online application process, applicants are required to identify the location of proposed work or use in the District’s right of way. The user’s guide for the mapping tool provides step-by-step instructions for performing this task. Finally, for users experiencing other difficulties with use of ROW E-Permitting, the troubleshooting guide provides answers to the most experienced problems.
To get started using ROW E-Permitting, click the “Apply” button below to file online applications or search permit records.