05 - Allowing Projections into the Public Right-of-Way

Revised on 09-01-2020

Allowing projections into the public right-of-way is the process by which an applicant is granted access to build projections over the public right-of-way.  Not all projections into the public right of way will require a Revocable Permit.  The City of LA utilizes the current California Building Code and modifies various code sections making what is known as the Los Angeles Building Code (LABC).  As it relates to Allowing Projections into the Public Right-of-Way, the LAMC Chapter IX, Article 1, Division 32 defines the changes to the California Building Code.  If a projection exceeds the allowable dimensions defined by the CBC or LAMC, BOE will consider this an unallowable projection and an R Permit and Board Report may be required.

Allowable Projections in the Public Right-of-Way

Once staff have confirmed the application and plans provided by the customer comply with LAMC Chapter IX, Article 1, Division 32 and the California Building Code, no Revocable Permit is required for the encroachment.  This condition is considered compliance “by-right”.  There is no cost for this determination.  

NOTE:  Balconies that encroach into the public right-of-way will not typically require a Revocable Permit if a balcony complies with CBC 3202.3.2

Projection Requirements

  1. No portion of any projection from any building over any roadway shall be lower than an elevation of 14 feet above the roadway
  2. Drainage water collected from a roof, awning, canopy or marquee and condensate from mechanical equipment shall not flow over a public walking surface
  3. Per CBC 3202.2, encroachment into the PRW above grade and below 8 feet in height shall be prohibited except as allowed in the following:
    • Steps (CBC 3202.2.1) - Steps shall not project more than 12 inches and shall be guarded by approved devises not less than 3 feet in height, or shall be located be located between columns and pilasters
    • Architectural Features (CBC 3202.2.2) - Columns or pilasters, including bases and moldings shall not project more than 12 inches.  Belt courses (also called a string course or sill course, is a continuous row or layer of stones or brick set in a wall. Set in line with window sills, it helps to make the horizontal line of the sills visually more prominent), lintels (a structural horizontal block that spans the space or opening between two vertical supports. It can be a decorative architectural element, or a combined ornamented structural item), sills, architraves (lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. The term can also apply to all sides, including the vertical members, of a frame with mouldings around a door or window), pediments (architectural element consisting of a gable, usually of a triangular shape, placed above the horizontal structure of the entablature, typically supported by columns), and similar architectural features shall not project more than 4 inches.Projections from existing buildings for roll-up doors memo
    • Awnings (CBC 3202.2.3) – The vertical clearance from the public right of way to the lowest part of any awning, including valances, shall not be less than 7 feet
  4. Per CBC 3202.3, encroachments 8 feet or more above grade are prohibited except as allowed in the following:
    • Encroachments Over 15 feet (CBC 3202.3.3) - Encroachments 15 feet for more above grade shall not be limited 
    • Awnings, Canopies, Marquees and Signs (CBC 3202.3.1) -  Prior to issuance of a building permit, plans and specifications and the type, design, arrangement and location of every marquee shall be approved by the City's Board of Cultural Affairs Commissioners in addition to the Board of Public Works.  Awnings, Canopies, Marquees and Signs shall be constructed so as to support applicable loads as specified in LAMC 91.1609 - Wind Load, LAMC 91.1612 - Flood Load, and LAMC 91.1613 - Earthquake Load.   Awnings, canopies, marquees, and signs with less than 15 feet clearance above the sidewalk shall not extend into or occupy more than 2/3 the width of the sidewalk measured from the building. Stanchions or columns that support awnings, canopies, marquees, and signs shall be located not less than 2 feet back of curb face.  Marquees are defined as a canopy that has a top surface which is sloped less than 25 degrees from the horizontal and is located less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from operable openings above or adjacent to the level of the marquee (CBC Chapter 2 - Definitions).
    • Windows, Balconies, Architectural Features and Mechanical Equipment – Where vertical clearance above grade to projecting windows, balconies, architectural features and mechanical equipment is more than 8 feet, 1 inch of encroachment is permitted for each additional 1 inch of clearance above 8 feet, but the maximum encroachment is 4 feet (regardless of the height).   LADBS will determine if balconies in the public right-of-way can be used to satisfy the requirements of  LAMC 12.21.G - Open Space Requirement for Six or More Residential Units (BOE shall not  make this determination).  

      If LADBS allows the Applicant to construct a balcony with a vertical clearance of at least 8' and a projection greater than 4' into the public right-of-way, BOE shall confirm with LADBS non-conformance to the CBC.  If LADBS confirms they have allowed the projection, BOE would issue an R-Permit for the projection per the normal processing procedures.

      In addition, per a July 18, 2011 BOE memo to Building & Safety regarding “Projections from Existing Buildings for Roll-up Doors”, BOE issued the following determination.  BOE has also determined the below criteria are consistent with projections allowed in CBC 3202.2 and CBC 3202.3 and therefore any roll-up doors installed on an existing building consistent with this criteria would not require a Revocable Permit or a clearance from BOE. 
      • at or above 7 feet vertical clearance, doors shall not project more than 12 inches
      • from above grade up to 7 feet vertical clearance, door frames shall not project more than 4 inches
  • Encroachments 15' or More Above Grade - Encroachments 15 feet or more above grade shall not be limited (would not be applicable to any items specifically called out in the CBC Chapter 32)
  • Pedestrian Walkway – The vertical clearance from the public right-of-way to the lowest point of the pedestrian walkway shall not be less than 15 feet. 

Permit Processing

BOE staff will process the R Permit application through the on-line R Permit system.  General instructions on processing through this system can be found in this manual under R Permits, Technical Information, 00 - Revocable (R) Permit Application Processing Procedures.  Once an application has been submitted, staff should confirm the following items have been received and/or processed through the proper departments.  

  1. Fees paid
    1. Balconies not compliant with the 2016 California Building Code, Part 2, Volume 2, Chapter 32, Section 3201 and Section 3202 - Encroachments into the Public Right-of-Way - Tier 3
    2. All others - Tier 3 (an R Permit is only issued if the projection is not compliant with the CBC or LAMC and therefore only the Board of Public Works can make this determination which requires a Board Report to be prepared)
  2. Proof of satisfactory insurance coverage
  3. Grant Copy of the deed
  4. Title Report (less than 6 months old)
  5. Waiver of Damages
  6. Photographs of the encroachment area
  7. Confirm the proposed location is in the public right-of-way
  8. Plans of the projection
    1. The projection shall be designed, such that, the encroaching portion may be removed if the R-Permit is revoked without making it non-compliant with the building requirements.
  9. Written approval from Cultural Affairs for the encroachment if for Awnings, Canopies, Marquees and Signs.