13 - Street Vacations / Tract Mergers

Revised on 07-28-2023

Street Vacation:  A street vacation is a type of easement in which a government transfers the right-of-way of a public street, highway or alley to a private property owner(s).  Certain situations may warrant the issuance of an R-Permit to close a right-of-way prior to a street vacation. 

Tract Merger:  A tract merger is the process of merging multiple lots and/or public streets into one parcel or subdivision.  Certain situations may warrant the issuance of an R-Permit to close a right-of-way prior to the recordation of a Tract Map. 

The R-Permit, along with a construction permit (A, B or E), allows the developer to temporarily fence, grade, and construct over the right-of-way while the street vacation or tract map is in process.  Tract merger may also include overhead projections (air space vacations) and underground projections (i.e., subterranean parking, basements, etc.) encroachments that will become private property once the final Tract map is approved. Once the street vacation or tract merger has been approved by the City Council, improvements completed, and recorded with the County the bond shall be released (See Bond Release for more information) and the R-Permit closed. If the vacation is canceled or expired, the R-Permit would no longer be considered valid. 


The following is an overview of the entire street vacation / tract merger process, prior to an applicant receiving an R-Permit:

  1. Where does this "request" originate
    1. Street Vacation
    2. Tract Map
  2. Who approves the request?
    1. Street Vacation:  
    2. Tract Map: 
  3. If the motion is adopted by City Council, BOE would officially begin work on the report with recommendations.  The procedure for this process can be found under 06 - Vacations of Public Right-of-Way and Certain Other Right, Nuisance Alley Vacation.
  4. The report with the recommendations is prepared  by the Bureau of Engineering, Land Development Group, reviewed by the City Attorney for legality, and submitted back to City Council for approval or denial.  This report includes:
    1. A petition that is circulated to residents who abut the subject street/alley (could extend further than properties that abut) as well as Council Offices, HOAs, or other stakeholders.
    2. Reference to CA Vehicle Code Section 21101.4
    3. Verification from the Police Department stating what conditions listed in the CA Vehicle Code are in violation
    4. Fiscal impacts of processing the application
    5. Conditions of approval
  5. If approved, Applicants would apply for a Revocable Permit and a construction A or B Permit from the Bureau of Engineering within six months of City Council approval. 


The following items are required in order to obtain a Revocable Permit for a street vacation:

  1. Confirm the appropriate Tier 1 fees have been collected (since this action has been approved by a City Council Motion and there are no physical field conditions to check, BOE issues an R Permit as a ministerial action).  
  • An Adopted Council Motion authorizing the Street Vacation
  • Sketch or plan of the proposed encroachment
    • Any proposed improvements to the existing sidewalk, alley, or driveway shall be ADA compliant
  • Photos documenting the existing site and proposed encroachment
  • Proof of satisfactory insurance coverage
  • Signed and notarized Waiver and Release of Claims form
  • Approval letter from DOT for the closure
  • Approval letter from BSL for the closure
  • Approval letter from Urban Forestry, if applicable, for the closure
  • Approval letter from the applicable Council District acknowledging support
  • Documentation of arrangements with all public utility agencies for the protection or relocation of any existing facilities within the areas to be occupied.
  • A construction estimate to restore the area (amount determines the bond amount) within the public right-of-way if the vacation proceedings are denied, canceled or stopped for any reason.
  • Cash or Surety Bond as determined by the District office (covers the costs required to restore the public right-of-way to pre-existing conditions in the event the proposed vacation is not approved or completed).  This is submitted to the Bond Control Group in Valley District office.
    • Completed “Application for Bond Preparation” with the General Improvements “Type of Bond” selected
    • Four (4) original, executed copies of the Bond documents shall be submitted and distributed as follows:
      • 1 - File
      • 2 - Applicant
      • 3 & 4 - Bond Control Group in Valley District office