Sec.2 - Permitting Process

2.1 Application for Permit


Applications for permits shall be submitted in the manner prescribed by and on the appropriate forms supplied by the Permit Section of the WCRC. The application shall contain or be accompanied by a certification of either legal ownership or agency authorization. Applications shall be accompanied by plans or drawings where applicable and fees as established by the Board.


For processing of permit applications, every applicant requesting a permit shall be classified into one of three categories: governmental agencies, public utilities or private parties. These classifications shall determine the procedures by which the application will be reviewed to assure compliance with federal and state law and WCRC requirements as authorized by statute.


Incorporated governmental bodies such as cities, villages, townships, counties, and certain other governmental and public entities are granted certain privileges by law to utilize the county road right-of-way with permission of the WCRC, subject to the paramount rights of the public. A governmental entity's utility has priority over a public utility's facility, and may require the public utility to relocate its facility at its expense for the benefit of the governmental entity.


A review period begins with the acceptance, by the WCRC, of a permit application. The WCRC shall be guided by this regulation and any other applicable federal or state statutes or regulations in evaluating and acting on the application. The WCRC will work cooperatively with the Applicant in an attempt to resolve all issues prior to taking final action on the application. Generally, a response to an application will be provided within 15 work days. Transmittal of a completed permit, approved by the WCRC, or transmittal of a denied application constitutes action on the permit application. Failure to meet the aforementioned timeframes shall not be construed as an approval of the permit requested.


If the WCRC denies an application, the WCRC shall provide the Applicant a copy of the application marked "denied" along with any attachments and a written explanation for the decision.


If the WCRC approves a permit application, the permit shall be prepared for issuance and signature by the Applicant and its contractor and shall include any additional terms and conditions established by review. The owner noted on the permit, normally the property owner, will become the Permit Holder. If the Permit Holder does not agree to all terms and conditions of the permit, the permit shall be deemed denied.


On extensive projects, detailed plans shall clearly define that portion of the work which will involve work on WCRC right-of-way or affect WCRC operations. Plans are not necessary for those areas which will not involve work on WCRC right-of-way or affect WCRC operations.


Entry upon WCRC right-of-way for the purpose of conducting survey or field inspections, obtaining soils information, or any other purpose associated with the design and construction of the proposed use shall be allowed only with a proper permit from the WCRC.


The permit is fully executed and in force after the application and any attached plans are approved and the permit is signed by the owner or authorized agent, the contractor, and the authorized representatives of WCRC.

2.2 Applications by Governmental Agencies


Permit applications initiated by governmental or public agencies shall include a current resolution by the governing body of the agency, authorizing and accepting responsibility for the work to be done and the occupancy of the right-of-way. A resolution must be submitted for each application unless an acceptable resolution is already on file. Either of the following types of resolution is acceptable.

  • An individual resolution which pertains only to the permit work
  • A blanket resolution which is applicable to all permit work


The WCRC may require security in the form of a bond, irrevocable bank letter of credit, or cash from contractors performing certain types of permit construction for governmental agencies. As an alternative, the WCRC may, in its sole discretion and by agreement with the governmental agency, arrange for withholding of a portion of the contractor's payment pending approval of the permitted activity by the WCRC. A construction performance bond on which the WCRC is a joint beneficiary is generally unacceptable unless there is an agreement between the governmental agency and the WCRC regarding termination of the bond.


The governmental agency must apply in its own name for the following types of permits and no other applicant is acceptable:

  • Road Closures for parades, festivals, celebrations, neighborhood block parties, marathons, races, etc.)
  • Banners

2.3 Plan Requirements for Proposed Right-of-Way Activities


Certain permit applications, primarily those involving construction activities, shall be accompanied by three sets of plans or drawings prepared in conformance with the current edition of the MDOT Michigan Design Manual and clearly indicating the requirements herein, or as the Permit Section may require to adequately review the proposed work. Typically, an application for a residential driveway permit will be exempt from the aforementioned plan requirements.


Surveying shall conform to the current edition of the MDOT Design Survey Manual.


All elevations shall be based on the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88).


Road design shall conform to the current AASHTO Policy On Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, applicable MDOT design methodology, and the WCRC requirements described herein.


Plans shall be signed and sealed by a Professional Engineer registered in the State of Michigan. All correspondence concerning the design of the proposed activity will be directed to the Engineer whose seal appears on the plan, with a copy to the Applicant.


Plans shall be submitted on 24" x 36" white paper having blue or black lines with a minimum horizontal scale of 1" = 40' and vertical of 1" = 4'.


English units of measure shall be used exclusively.


Drainage calculations, in accordance with the MDOT Drainage Manual, shall be submitted and incorporated into the plan drawings.


A detailed, itemized cost estimate for all work in the road right-of-way shall be submitted at the time of plan submittal. The estimate shall be signed and sealed by a Professional Engineer registered in the State of Michigan.

2.4 Conditions & Limitations of Permits


The Permit Holder shall abide by the conditions and limitations contained on the permit. The application and any work undertaken under the permit shall constitute the Permit Holder's agreement to this provision.


Any activity described in Section 1.1 shall be allowed only after an approved permit has been obtained from the Permit Section. The activity shall be as described in an approved permit and plans or drawings accompanying the permit. The WCRC must approve in writing any significant changes in plans.


The Permit Holder shall provide the Permit Section at least two days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays) written notice prior to the commencement of any activity covered by the permit. In certain instances WCRC may require more notice.


In the event of failure to comply with the terms and conditions of any permit issued in accordance with these procedures and regulations or failure to obtain an appropriate permit, the Permit Section shall have the right to halt the offending activity until adequate corrections have been made or deficiencies corrected. Upon the Permit Section issuing a Stop Work Order, the Permit Holder shall immediately cause all activity covered by the Order to cease and desist.


The WCRC reserves the right of inspection by its authorized representatives of all activity within the right-of-way. The Permit Holder shall reimburse the WCRC for such onsite inspections as may be required for large commercial or residential developments or other special cases. Such inspections and testing may include, without limitation, inspection of materials, soils, construction methods, compaction, grades, drainage, signing and safety precautions, soil erosion and sedimentation control, and restoration.


If, upon inspection, an activity described in Section 1.1 is found to be in violation, the responsible party shall correct any deficiencies within a period of 30 days, as specified in a Notice of Violation sent by Certified Mail. Dangerous or hazardous conditions, as determined by the WCRC, shall be corrected immediately. If the responsible party fails to make the necessary corrections within the time stated in the Notice, WCRC may perform the necessary corrections at the expense of the responsible party.


Any Permit Holder who conducts operations in a manner detrimental to WCRC's ability to maintain roads reasonably safe and convenient for public travel will be required to cease all such operations. If necessary, additional cash deposits for the expense of maintaining a WCRC inspector on-site (full-time) may be required from the Permit Holder prior to the resumption of work.


The Permit Holder shall restore the right-of-way and roadway to a condition acceptable to the WCRC. The WCRC will take all reasonable actions necessary to provide reasonably safe and convenient public travel, preservation of the roadway and drainage, prevention of soil erosion and sedimentation, and elimination of nuisance to abutting property owners caused by the permitted activity. The cost of any such action will be charged to the Permit Holder, who shall reimburse the WCRC. In the event that a suspension of work will be protracted or that the work will not be completed by the Permit Holder, the Permit Holder shall restore the right-of-way to a condition similar to the condition that existed prior to issuance of the permit.


All expenses incurred by the WCRC due to obtaining or enforcing compliance with conditions and requirements of the permit, failure to obtain a permit, or defective workmanship or materials shall be borne by the Permit Holder or other responsible party, as the case may be.


The Permit Holder shall keep a copy of the permit and any associated approved plans available at the site during permitted activities.


The Permit Holder shall take, provide and maintain all necessary precautions to prevent injury or damage to persons and property from operations covered by the permit and shall use warning signs and safety devices which are in accordance with the current MMUTCD. The Permit Holder shall conduct all activites and maintain all facilities as set forth in the permit in a manner so as not to damage, impair, interfere with, or obstruct a public road or create a foreseeable risk of harm to the traveling public. The Permit Holder shall comply with all applicable O.S.H.A. and MI.O.S.H.A. requirements.


The Permit Holder shall comply with all requirements of the Miss Dig Statute, MCL ?460.701 et seq., as amended. The Permit Holder shall call ?MISS DIG? at (800) 482-7171at least three (3) full working days (excluding Saturdays and Sundays), but not more than twenty-one (21) calendar days, before starting any underground work. The Permit Holder assumes all responsibility for damage to or interruption of underground utilities.


The Permit Holder shall surrender the permit, cease operation, and surrender all rights thereunder, whenever notified to do so by the WCRC because of a public need to use the area covered by the permit or because of a default of any condition or requirement of the permit.


Drainage shall not be altered to flow into the road right-of-way or road drainage system unless approved by the WCRC.


WCRC makes no warranty either express or implied as to the condition or suitability of subsurface conditions or any existing facility which may be encountered during an excavation. The Permit Holder is responsible for proper disposal, in accordance with current regulations, with any material excavated from within the right-of-way. Such materials include, without limitation, soils or groundwater contaminated by petroleum products or other pollutants associated with sites identified by the MDEQ or reported on appropriate release forms for underground storage tanks.


The Permit Holder shall remove all surplus materials to an area outside the right-of-way unless the permit otherwise provides. Excavated material and raw materials or equipment shall not be stockpiled or stored so as to adversely affect the safety of the traveling public nor shall such material be disposed in such manner that wetlands, floodplains, streams, rivers, drains, or other defined watercourses are impacted. Work within wetlands or wetland fringes is not authorized by the permit unless accompanied by State or local wetland permit.


All work authorized by the permit shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Permit Section on or before the completion date specified in the permit. Any request for an extension of time for completion shall be in writing and shall demonstrate good cause for granting the request. Approval of an extension of time shall be based on extenuating circumstances indicating no neglect on the part of the Permit Holder. Additional requirements may be imposed as a condition of an extension of time due to seasonal limitations or other considerations. These additional requirements may include, without limitation, changes to materials or construction methods, re-establishment of fees, bonds, deposits and insurance requirements.


The Permit Holder shall notify the Permit Section in writing of completion of the work and shall request a final inspection. All work authorized by permit shall be completed prior to

final inspection and all items identified by the final inspection shall be resolved prior to release of the permit.


The Applicant and the Permit Holder are responsible for obtaining any permits and complying with State, federal and local laws, rules, regulations and ordinances. These include without limitation those pertaining to inland lakes and streams, wetlands, woodlands, flood plains, filling, noise regulation, and hours of operation. Issuance of a WCRC permit does not authorize activities otherwise regulated by State, federal or local agencies.


The Permit Holder is solely responsible for the correctness and completeness of plans submitted as part of a permit application. Any errors in the plans which become evident after the issuance of a permit and which change the scope of permitted work are subject to review and may be grounds for revocation of the permit.


Where roads or road drainage cannot be contained within the existing right-of-way due to the Applicant's proposed work, the WCRC may require that additional right-of-way be dedicated. Prior to permit issuance, required right-of-way and easements shall be submitted and approved in a format that is recordable by the Washtenaw County Register of Deeds and meets the drafting requirements of Act 132, P.A. of 1970, prior to permit issuance.


The Permit Holder shall at all times possible maintain a minimum of one acceptable access to all abutting occupied properties, driveways, and side streets unless otherwise allowed on the approved plans. The Permit Holder shall notify any owners or occupants of properties whose access may be temporarily disrupted during the permitted work. The local police, fire, or emergency service agencies shall define acceptable access. The Permit Holder shall provide signing and other improvements necessary to ensure adequate access until the roadway, driveway, or side street is restored. The Permit Holder shall conduct all operations so as to minimize inconvenience to abutting property owners. The WCRC reserves the right to reasonably restrict the progress of work by the Permit Holder based on the rate of roadway and right-of-way restoration, including permanent or temporary pavement. The WCRC may require that work be suspended until satisfactory backfilling of open trenches or excavations has been completed and driveways, side streets, and drainage restored.


All pumping or de-watering operations shall be conducted in compliance with N.P.D.E.S. permits. Outlet filters or sediment basins shall be used before discharged water reaches roadside ditches, storm sewer inlets, or surface waters. Placement of discharge lines on or across the surface of the traveled portion of any road will not be allowed without advance written permission from the WCRC. The Permit Holder shall perform all necessary restoration of the road drainage system. If the WCRC deems it necessary for the Permit Holder to either alter dewatering operations or to cease de-watering operations altogether for reasons of public safety, the Permit Holder shall immediately comply. The Permit Holder shall locate all de-watering facilities as far from the road surface as possible. If, due to extenuating circumstances, these facilities are located closer to the road than the back slope of the ditch, a Type B high intensity flashing light mounted on a plastic drum shall be required at each location.


Normal weight restrictions will be in effect at all times, except during the period when reduced seasonal load limitations are in effect. If, due to the high volume of trucking, damage to the roads is threatened, the Permit Holder shall reduce loads carried on the roads as necessary to avoid damage, as directed by WCRC. The use of tracked or crawler mounted equipment on road pavements shall not be permitted unless specifically authorized in advance in writing by the WCRC. Written authorization for such use will usually require complete replacement or resurfacing of the entire pavement so used.


The Permit Holder shall maintain all work areas in the right-of-way in a safe, dust free condition until all work in a given area is completed, including the hauling of materials. Dust control at a frequency determined by the WCRC shall be provided on any unpaved detour, by?pass, or shoulder which is to be used by traffic. Dust control shall be provided in compliance with Section 107.15 of the MDOT Standard Specification For Construction.


If the area disturbed by the work is one (1) acre or greater, and requires a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (N.P.D.E.S.) Permit, the Permit Holder shall notify the WCRC and provide the name and address of the certified operator.

2.5 Limitations on use of Annual Permit


Use of an annual permit is primarily limited to geophysical exploration, land surveys, and certain operations by governmental agencies and organizations recognized by the WCRC as public utilities for activities defined in Section 4.18.1.


Poles, conductors, lead guys, and anchors may be added within an existing lead. An existing lead is defined as an established line or conduit, including poles or appurtenances within the physical limits of that line. If a conductor is extended beyond the existing lead, individual permits are required except as noted below. It is not intended that changing poles or location of poles within an existing lead necessitates an individual permit. However, a significant reconstruction, i.e., converting poles to towers or replacing several poles for a large overhead utility run, shall not be performed under an annual permit. Routine maintenance may be performed on all existing aerial facilities.

a) Service drops requiring a pole across the road and outside the lead may be performed under an annual permit. b) Upgrading a two to a three wire may be performed under an annual permit only if it provides for a single service. c) Individual permits shall be obtained if there is parallel work within the right-of-way made from a particular service drop.


The allowable use of an annual permit for underground utility operations is limited and very specific. The annual permit provides for underground individual services only up to three-inch diameter if crossing pavement. Any activities not within the scope of the annual permit require an individual permit. Pavement cuts are not allowed for transverse crossing under an annual permit.


Where two utilities jointly occupy a pole or facility with a bona fide joint use agreement, each party shall be required to secure its own permit.

2.6 Indemnity and Certificates of Insurance


The Permit Holder shall defend and hold harmless the WCRC against any claim for damages or related costs and expenses arising from any activities or operations covered by the permit, provided, however, that in the case of construction activities, the Permit Holder shall not be obligated to indemnify the WCRC against its own sole neglect.


The Applicant or its contractor shall furnish proof of general liability insurance in amounts not less than $1,000,000 each occurrence and general aggregate, proof of automobile liability in amounts not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit for each accident, bodily injury per accident, and property damage per accident, and in an amount not less than $500,000 for bodily injury per person. that the Permit Holder shall cause WCRC to be an additional insured party on the policy. Such insurance shall cover a period not less than the term of the permit and shall provide that it cannot be cancelled without 30 days advance written notice to WCRC, by certified mail, first-class, return receipt requested.


The Applicant shall name the Road Commission as additional insured, by name, on the policy of insurance worded as follows: "The Board of County Road Commissioners of the County of Washtenaw, the Washtenaw County Road Commission, and its officers, agents and employees, are named as additional insured parties."


The certificate of insurance must be provided by a person, the corporation, or by authorized representatives who signed personally either the application or permit. Insurance shall remain in force until the permitted activity is completed, inspected and approved.


Should insurance coverage be cancelled or reduced below acceptable limits, authorization to continue work under the permit shall be suspended or revoked. WCRC may in such case take appropriate action to restore or protect the road and appurtenances, utilizing any inspection, fees, security deposits or applicable bonds to defray expenses.

2.7 Permit Fees


Fees shall be paid in amounts per the current schedule of fees, as adopted by the Board, to be charged sufficient to cover the necessary and actual costs applied in a reasonable manner for the issuance of the permit and for review and inspection of the proposed activity and related expenses including any fees charged by outside professional consultants. After the work authorized in the permit has been completed, itemization of all costs shall be provided upon request of the Permit Holder.


Deposits in the form of a Cashier's check or cash shall be required for surety, inspection and administration fees, and sign fee in the amounts indicated on the approved application form. These deposits, as well as the permit fee, may be combined into one check.


Corporate checks may be accepted subject to the approval of the Permit Section.


All inspection charges over and above the amount estimated and any costs associated with work authorizations shall be deducted from the surety. Any unused portion of the surety will be returned to the Applicant. Any charges in excess of the surety will be the obligation of the Applicant. The surety and permit will not be released until such payments are received by the WCRC.


The following details shall be resolved by the Permit Section prior to granting a permit:

  1. Inspection requirements, scope of work.
  2. Inspection personnel: WCRC, Contract Agency, Inspection Services Contract.
  3. Based upon the scope of the project, traffic impacts, or available work force, an inspection services contract may be required.
  4. Estimated inspection costs assessed to the Applicant; these costs may include WCRC employee wages, equipment rental, expenses, overhead, any inspection related contract costs, and any outside professional consultants fees.
  5. Inspection fees may be adjusted at the completion of the project to reflect actual inspection costs.

2.8 Security for Right-of-Way Restoration


Financial security is required for a permit for most of the activities listed in Section 1.1. This is required to secure the cost of restoring the disturbed portion of right-of-way to an acceptable and safe condition and to protect the WCRC against the cost of completing construction or correcting deficiencies. The amount of the guarantee shall be determined by the Permit Section in accordance with the adopted WCRC fee schedule. Acceptable types of guarantee are cash, Cashier's check, money order, or irrevocable bank letter of credit. A governmental agency may provide a letter of retainage. A public utility may provide a surety bond using WCRC forms.

2.9 Refunds of Fees


Application and Permit fees are non-refundable.


In the event that the work covered by a permit does not commence, sureties and inspection fees will be refunded to the Permit Holder upon receipt of a written request to revoke the permit and return the surety and inspection fees.


Upon completion of the work covered by the permit, any unused balances of surety or estimated inspection fees will be refunded to the Permit Holder. Sign fees and pavement striping fees are non-refundable. Refunds will be processed after final inspection of the work by the Permit Section. Refunds will not be issued until the WCRC has been satisfied that all repairs have been made, vegetation has been established, storm systems affected by the project are clean and undamaged, no settlements of the road surface or side slopes will occur, all temporary soil erosion and sedimentation control measures have been removed, and all excess construction materials are removed from the project area.

2.10 Review of Permit Denial or Request for Variance


An Applicant wishing review of either a denial of a permit application or a variance from permit requirements shall submit a written request for review, clearly specifying the facts in support of the request, to the County Highway Engineer.


The County Highway Engineer shall whenever practicable make a written determination within 30 days of submission of the request, either granting or denying said request. The Applicant shall be forwarded a copy of the determination by first-class mail. If the request is denied, the response shall set forth the reasons for denial. Failure of the County Highway Engineer to act within 30 days shall not be construed as an approval of the variance requested.


An Applicant wishing review of either a denial of a permit application or denial of a variance by the County Highway Engineer may within 60 days of such denial submit a written request for review by the Board.

  1. The permit application, supporting documentation, and determination and recommendation by the County Highway Engineer shall be provided by WCRC staff to the Board.
  2. The Applicant shall demonstrate, as a condition of any permit or variance, that the requested permit or variance will be consistent with the safety and convenience of the public taking into account traffic volumes, drainage, the nature, character and use of the land, and other requirements in the public interest.
  3. The Board shall after due consideration either grant or deny an Applicant's request. The Applicant shall be forwarded a copy of the Board resolution approving or denying the request.

2.11 Enforcement


Failure to obtain a required permit or to comply with any provision of an issued permit may result in suspension of the work for which the permit was issued until adequate corrections have been made. Costs incurred by the WCRC in correcting failure to comply with the terms and conditions of a permit, failure to obtain a permit, or defective workmanship or materials shall be borne by the Permit Holder.


The Permit Holder or its authorized representative shall perform all work and pay all costs in connection with permitted activities.


If, upon inspection, a driveway, shared driveway, or private road approach constructed or reconstructed after the effective date of these rules is found to be in violation of these rules, the owner shall correct any deficiencies within a period of time not more than 30 days, specified in a notice of violation sent by certified mail to the owner. Any safety hazard shall be corrected immediately. If the owner fails to make the necessary corrections within the period of time stated in the notice, the WCRC, or its agents, may perform the necessary correction(s), with all costs incurred to be reimbursed to the WCRC by owner.


In the event of failure to comply with the terms and conditions of any permit issued in accordance with these rules, or failure to obtain an appropriate permit, the WCRC shall have the right to halt ingress and egress activity to and from the site until adequate corrections have been made.


A notice of violation shall specify which rules are violated, the correction required, and the time for said correction (not less than 30 days). The notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of the subject property.


If the violation is not corrected in the time required by the notice, the WCRC may perform any necessary corrections at the owner's cost. This procedure is in addition to and does not negate the rights of the Permit Section to issue a Stop Work Order or of the WCRC to correct conditions within the right-of-way creating hazards to public travel.


A non-compliance fee of three times the permit fee will be charged for activities conducted without a required permit.