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Road Maintenance and Driveway Permits

Road Maintenance / Road Closures / Maintenance Yard / Tree Removal Policy /
Accepting a Road into the County-maintained System / Driveway Permits

County of Santa Cruz Road Maintenance Manual


The Road Maintenance unit is responsible for maintenance of all County roads (607.24 miles) and equipment and material yards including pavement maintenance and restoration, bridge repair, building maintenance, cribbing, concrete work, bike lane maintenance, median landscaping (except in CSA 9E), tree trimming, and certain storm drain activities.

Current: road closures

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Santa Cruz County Maintenance Yard may be reached at:

Brommer Maintenance Yard
2700 Brommer Street
Santa Cruz, CA  95062
(831) 477-3999 (24 hours a day)

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Tree Removal Flowchart


To preserve the natural beauty of Santa Cruz County by limiting the removal of trees within road rights of ways and replacing those which are removed with new plantings.


A woody perennial plant having a single main axis, stem, or trunk, exceeding ten feet in height; not shrubs or bushes.

Removal of trees by County forces or agents of the County shall be limited to removal for the following reasons:

  1. Trees which are dead, seriously diseased, badly out of balance, or otherwise in the process of falling and are threatening the motoring public or pedestrians.
  2. Trees which, in the opinion of the Highway Patrol, are a traffic hazard due to the obstruction of sight distance or of regulatory traffic control devices.
  3. Trees which must be removed for the purpose of a road improvement project in the interests of traffic safety, or as otherwise authorized by the Board of Supervisors.

Removal of trees by other parties under encroachment permit shall be limited to:

  1. Those trees which must be removed to provide vehicular access to the property, where no suitable alternate exists.
  2. Those trees which must be removed to provide adequate sight distance for a vehicle entering the County road from the driveway, and where no alternative exists.
  3. Those trees which are endangering the health and welfare, including the peace of mind, of the property owner, and where a substantial number of property owners in the immediate vicinity have signed a statement to that effect.
  4. Those trees which interfere with the installation or function of a public utility and where no reasonable alternative exists.


The person or agency responsible for the removal of any tree or trees shall plant a tree of suitable species in the immediate vicinity of the removed tree or at a location deemed more suitable as determined by the Department of Public Works.  Trees under 12" in diameter, measured one foot from the base, shall be replaced with trees of one-gallon size.  Those over 12 inches in diameter shall be replaced with five-gallon trees.

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On June 1, 1971, the Board of Supervisors approved the following policy to determine which roads may be accepted into the County-maintained system.

    The purpose of this policy is to allow existing public roads in a developed area to be accepted into the County maintained system after the road has been improved to the point that it will not be a maintenance liability to the County.


    1. The road shall be an existing public road, prior to the date of Board approval of this policy.

    2. At least 50 percent of the potential lots as determined by zoning fronting the road shall be developed with residential construction.

    3. No more than 25 percent of the fronting property shall be under one ownership.

    4. Plans and specifications for the improvement shall be reviewed and approved in writing by the Director of Public Works prior to construction.
      Plans need not be formal in nature, but shall be sufficient to show the proposed improvements meet the standards required.

    5. Inspection of construction by the Director of Public Works shows the work conforms to the approved plans and specifications.

    6. All costs of improvement shall be borne by the concerned property owners.


    1. A minimum of 40-foot right of way shall exist or shall be deeded to the County.

    2. Street Width:
      The paved roadway shall be a minimum of 24 feet wide in level terrain and 20 feet wide in mountainous terrain.  If the proposed improvement is an extension of an existing maintained road which is wider than the above minimums, the paved roadway shall conform in width to the existing maintained road.

    3. Alignment and Grades:
      Alignment and grades shall conform to the provisions of Part I, Section B, of the County of Santa Cruz Design Criteria.

    4. Structural Section:
      The structural section shall conform to the requirements of Section C of the County of Santa Cruz Design Criteria.  The minimum structural section shall be 3" of asphalt concrete and 9" of aggregate base.
      If the existing road has a minimum of 6" of gravel material and shows no evidence of subgrade failure, it will be permissible to grade the existing gravel material and surface it with 3" of asphalt concrete.

    5. Drainage:
      Drainage facilities shall conform to the provisions of the County of Santa Cruz Design Criteria.
      Roadside drainage must be provided for by asphalt concrete dikes or lined ditches.

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The Permit Engineering unit is responsible for the approval, issuance, and inspection of encroachment, transportation and driveway permits.



If you are building adjacent to a County maintained road, a driveway permit is required along with your building permit.  The application shall specify in detail the location, grade and type of construction.  A plan view showing width, alignment, surface type, structural section, sight distance, drainage and intersection details along with a profile showing difference in elevation from the road to the garage are required.  Your plans shall provide such conditions to assure the safety of vehicular traffic upon County maintained roads and those using the driveway.   The application for such permit shall be denied if the proposed improvement would endanger public safety.

Fee Amount

The permit fee shall be $844.00.

Legal Authority

Chapter 9.70 STREETS AND ROADS, Driveways, Section 9.70.140 Santa Cruz County Code

Driveway Standards

Driveway standards are available in the Public Works Department, 701 Ocean Street,  Room 410, Santa Cruz, CA, also available on-line

Driveway Regulations

Driveways adjacent to a County maintained road shall be constructed or reconstructed as to meet County of Santa Cruz Driveway Design Criteria Specifications.   In addition, the following specifications shall be complied with:

  1. Driveway shall not interfere with a legal encroachment or create a hazard or nuisance and shall be spaced to make maximum street parking available.
  2. A PLAN and PROFILE drawn to scale showing the following must be submitted for approval prior to the issuance of a driveway permit
    1. Existing right-of-way line/property lines
    2. Type of existing roadside improvements
    3. Edge of pavement of road
    4. Existing ground on profiles
    5. Elevations on profiles at grade changes
    6. Type of surface and base
  3. A common driveway will not be allowed unless rights-of-way over both properties are granted to each property owner.
  4. Adequate sight distance shall be provided in all cases.  The minimum sight distance shall be 250 feet.
  5. When more than one driveway is to serve a given property frontage the total width of all driveways shall not exceed 70 percent of the frontage for commercial parcels or 50% of the frontage for residential parcels.  Where more than one driveway is to serve any one property, not less than 20' of full height curb shall be provided between driveways.
  6. The sideline of any driveway may not be closer than 10' to the intersection curb return.
  7. Driveway alignment of less than 60 degrees from road will not be allowed.
  8. Trees may only be removed to provide vehicular access where no suitable alternate exists.  Applicant shall obtain all necessary permits for tree removal work.
  9. Engineered plans for a driveway must be submitted upon demand from the Director of Public Works.
  10. Subdivision plans shall show a driveway design for each lot which conforms to these specifications.
  11. The permittee is responsible for the accuracy of all information submitted for the permit.
  12. Baserock shall be aggregate class II, asphalt concrete shall be hot mix type "B", and concrete shall be class 3 (class B) 5 sack minimum.
  13. Minimum inside turning radius shall be 15 feet.
  14. Pre-pour and/or pre-pave inspections are required prior to the final driveway inspection.
  15. 48 hour advance notice is required prior to inspections.
  16. Concrete grass pavers, installed to manufacturers' specifications, and as shown on plans approved by the Public Works Department, may be used as an alternate driveway surface type, outside of County maintained road rights-of-way, subject to the following:
    1. Concrete grass pavers may be used for fire access, emergency roads or turnarounds.
    2. Concrete grass pavers may be used when warranted by significant environmental conditions.
    3. Concrete grass pavers may be used on driveways which do not slope toward the street.
    4. The Public Works Department may disapprove the use of concrete grass pavers on driveways which slope toward the street, if the department determines that the installation of concrete grass pavers on such a driveway would likely result in the deposit of sediment on the street, or would otherwise cause significant problems within a County maintained right-of-way.
    5. In appropriate cases, the Public Works Department may require that provisions be made to accommodate pedestrian traffic, with a minimum four foot wide asphalt or concrete walkway.
    6. The Public Works Department may require that compaction test results of the subgrade soil be submitted to the department for review and that adequate compaction be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Public Works Department, in connection with installation of concrete grass pavers.
  17. The Public Works Department may approve other driveway surface types or products for use on driveways.  Manufacturers' design specifications must be submitted for review and approval prior to installation of the alternate surface type or product and must be shown on plans approved by the Public Works Department.

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