Administration and Regulatory Affairs

Franchises in General

Franchises in General and Police Powers in the Rights-of-Way
Section 17 of Article II of the City Charter of the City of Houston requires the issuance of a franchise for any private use of the public rights-of-way.

Police Powers in the Rights-of-Way
The City of Houston maintains its police powers over the use of the public rights-of-way. Any company wishing to install its infrastructure in the public right-of-way must obtain the proper permits prior to doing so and must in all instances meet the requirements of the City Engineer as specified in the City of Houston Infrastructure Design Manual. Please visit www.houstonpermittingcenter.org to obtain additional information regarding required permits.

Per Chapter 40, Article XVIII (Relocation of Privately-Owned Facilities), the City may require any privately-owned infrastructure inhabiting the public right-of-way to be relocated at the owner’s expense if needed by the City. Examples include a water main/sanitary sewer/storm sewer rehabilitation project, abandonment of a street/easement and rededication of a right-of-way to a different purpose. The City may also require privately owned infrastructure to be removed from the right-of-way if the company is abandoning its use of its infrastructure.

Finally, per Chapter 40, Article V (Excavation in Public Way), the City has regulations regarding the closing of street lanes for construction/repair work, time of day regulations regarding construction/repair work, and regulations regarding restoration of streets, sidewalks and easements post-construction/repair work.