What is Vacation?
A Street Vacation refers to the process where an individual (who owns property adjacent to the right-of-way) can petition the City Council and Mayor to acquire public right-of-way for private use. A right-of-way is generally only vacated when it is not in use for transportation or utility provision purposes.
How to Obtain a Vacation for a City Dedicated Right of Way:
Prepare a letter of request that clearly states that you are requesting a vacation at the identified location and why you are requesting said vacation addressed to:
Director of Public Works
301 City-County Building
414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
- Attach drawings and/or plans relevant to the area.
- Prepare an undated check for $150.00 made payable to the “Treasurer, City of Pittsburgh”.
- Prepare a notarized petition signed by the applicant and the abutting property owner(s).
- Applicant submits letter, drawings/plans, check, and notarized and signed petition to DPW Permit Counter at 611 Second Avenue and fills out Vacation Application.
- DPW then distributes memo to various City Departments and agencies asking if there is any objection to the vacation such as Department of Public Works (DPW), Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA), Pennsylvania American Water Company, Other utility providers(as necessary), Department of City Planning, Law Department, Finance Department.
- A field inspection is completed by DPW personnel.
- When the review and verification process is complete, legislation is submitted to City Council for approval.
- Final approval is obtained from the Mayor’s Office.
- The entire review process takes an average of three (3) months.”
General Information for Street Vacations
- If the requested street vacation has utility easements as part of the vacation, no building of structures will be allowed over the easement area.
- All vacated street areas are subject to the existing zoning requirements for the area in which they are located.
- When a street is vacated, half the reversionary rights go to the adjacent property owners on each side of the street.
- Most street vacations of unimproved or unopened streets have no additional cost other than the processing fee.
- The adjacent owners essentially own half of the street if it has never been opened after 21 years and are also responsible for half of the maintenance.
- The street vacation legislation essentially validates this ownership and allows for official map changes by the County.
- If a street vacation request is limited to one parcel or lot, it may be determined that it is feasible to vacate a larger portion of the street. The requester would then be responsible to have the adjacent property owners sign the petition to support the larger vacation.
- When legislation is passed supporting the street vacation, DPW sends a copy of said legislation to the Allegheny County Board of Assessment. The area of the vacated street will then be assigned an assessed value for tax purposes.