Public Works


Starting January 1, 2021, new processes will be in place for encroachment requests that fall into public right-of-way or a public easement. Public easements are primarily reserved for utilities and water flow, and typically run along the perimeter of private property. It is important to keep easement areas free of fences, sheds, gazebos, etc., in order to ensure water flow isn’t blocked during heavy rain events, and to preserve utility line access. Encroaching onto an easement requires an encroachment agreement.

Encroachment Application & Agreement

To obtain approval for an easement encroachment (i.e. building something on a public easement), an encroachment application must be submitted to Public Works and an encroachment agreement signed for approval by City Council. This is required for any object that intrudes or encroaches upon, above, or under public streets, alleys, easements or other public grounds including, but not limited to:

  • Fences
  • Retaining walls
  • Awnings
  • Signs
  • Sheds
  • Bollards
  • Post Indicator Valves

*this list is not exhaustive, please contact Public Works if you have additional questions

Step 1: Submit an Encroachment Application

  • Apply online (complete the form here) or call the Zoning Division 319-286-5836
  • Encroachment application fees apply (effective January 1, 2021):

Encroachment Fees

    • Application (Temporary) $100
    • Application (Easement) $250
    • Application (Right-of-Way) $500
    • Closing Cost $100
    • Recording Cost $50
    • Agreement Renewal or Transfer of Ownership $100

Step 2: Submit Certificate of Insurance 
To protect the interests of you, your neighbors, and the City, property owners who install anything in an easement are required to provide proof of insurance (certificate of insurance).

Step 3: Sign and Return Encroachment Agreement
Following successful application, the property owner will sign an encroachment agreement in the presence of a notary and return to Public Works for approval.

Once Steps 1 – 3 are completed, processing your agreement can take approximately 4 – 8 weeks and will go through City Council approval. Once approved, encroachment agreements are good for a term of 10 years.

For questions about encroaching onto the right-of-way or a public easement, please call (319) 286-5777 or email



Encroachment: An encroachment represents any intrusion upon public right-of-way or a public easement. Setting or placing anything in an easement or public right-of-way, whether it be temporary or fixed in nature is an encroachment.

Temporary Encroachment: An encroachment that expires after 1 year

Right-of-Way: Land owned and controlled by the City, usually over roads, highways, utilities are built. Area including street to the property line (behind sidewalk).

Easement: A nonpossessory right to use or enter onto the real property of another without possessing it. Primarily reserved for utilities and water flow, and typically run along the perimeter of private property.

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