Chattanooga's history has been lead by many outstanding African American leaders, including right here in city gove…

View Our
Facebook Page!

Report Fraud, Waste,
and Abuse

Online Services Payments, GIS Maps, Tax Information
Contact Department contacts, Reports and Requests

Temporary Use of the Right-of-Way

Temporary Use of the Right-of-Way

As part of our mission to enhance "multi-use public space for all people," CDOT encourages the use of public rights-of-way. Chattanooga City Code requires a Temporary Use of the Right-of-Way (Temp. Use) permit for many uses and activations of that right-of-way.

Chattanooga City Code Sec. 32-44

It shall be unlawful for any person to place an obstruction on or over any City right-of-way or property unless such person has obtained a temporary use permit from the City. Applications for such permits shall be made to the Transportation Department along with a non-refundable application fee of One Hundred Ten Dollars.

The Temp. Use application can be found here or a paper copy can be requested at the CDOT office.

Additional information about the Temp. Use process and Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

Applying for a Temp. Use Permit

Overview: Complete an application for temporary usage, pay the processing fee ($110.00), attach all maps and design drawings to the application and submit that package to include the original, signed form to CDOT for processing. Applicant can pay the processing fee via check or money order. Please make any checks payable to the City of Chattanooga.

1. Applicant generates map and/or site plan showing locations of the requested rights-of-way.

2. Applicant provides all relevant design drawings that depict locations of the proposed work. Please include dimensions and elevations detailing any objects and their sizes, as well as their proximity to other nearby features such as back of curb, tree wells, street lights, etc. The following table indicates many frequently requested Temporary Uses and the materials typically needed to complete and expedite our department's review process:

Building Projections:Canopies, Signs, Balconies  
Unopen Alleyways and Rights-of-Way:Improvements for Public Access     Site photos, other information
Grease Traps      
Sidewalk Cafe    
Landscape Enhancements, Irrigation Systems, or General Beautification     Proposed materials, specfications

3. Processing of Temporary Use applications is typically completed within 6 weeks from the time the application is received by CDOT until the time it is voted upon by City Council. CDOT will communicate the recommendations included in the permit to the applicant prior to submission to City Council. Upon consideration from City Council, a CDOT staff person will contact applicant to communicate if the permit was approved or not in addition to any and all conditions recommended for inclusion on the permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can I obtain an application form?

A: An applicant can obtain an application form at the CDOT office at the Development Resource Center 1250 Market Street, Suite 3030 Chattanooga, TN 37402 or download an electronic version here.

Q: Who is the agent, applicant and property owner?

A: On page one of the permit form, the applicant is the person submitting the paperwork for approval to CDOT and the property owner is the person that owns the property that will host the temporary use (i.e., building face that an awning or sign will attach). When the property owner is not applying for a permit directly, the property owner, on page two of the form, documents permission to the applicant ("agent") to apply for the permit. The applicant and agent are the same person when a permit is not submitted by a property owner. The applicant and property owner are the same person when the property owner submits a permit for temporary use.

Q: What is required for submission?

A: Please see the example permit submissions as a reference. Generally, the applicant needs to communicate and describe the location of the public right-of-way to be used and the proposed use (i.e., location of the temporary use and what are you doing). The applicant should include any special conditions (alley shared among neighbors, substantial changes in elevation, etc.) so the CDOT staff reviewing the application is familiar with the context of the public space.

Q: How will I know if my application is approved?

A: CDOT will send the City Council approval reference and the conditions included for recommendation required by the Department.

Q: I would like to improve an unopened alley or right-of-way for secondary access to my property.  Is anything beyond a map, site plan and photos required?

A: Yes, CDOT expects and encourages any applicant to notify others affected by any temporary use and collaboration on that use. CDOT staff will ask for this collaboration to be documented to ensure users of the public space are knowledgeable of the possible change.

Q: My I obtain a temporary use permit to utilize an unopened alley or right-of-way for primary access to my property?

A: This would not be an appropriate use of the temporary use permit. Temporary use permits may be granted to permit the improvement for public access of unopened alleys and rights-of-way for secondary access to properties, however primary access must be gained from a public or private roadway.

Q: May I obtain a temporary use permit for installing neighborhood or civic event banners?

A: Yes. Please refer to the CDOT banner policy. Banners shall be attached only to traffic signal poles or wooden utility poles with permission from the utility. Banners shall not be installed on street light poles.

Q: Can Temporary Use Permits be revoked? If yes, how?

A: Yes, temporary use permits can be revoked as alluded on the permit stipulation included on the application stating that the Temporary User shall vacate the property and temporary use upon thirty (30) days notice from the City to do so. The Temporary User shall restore the property to substantially the same condition that existed. CDOT will alert the Temporary User of the revocation and submit the revocation to City Council for approval. The Temporary User is to vacate the right-of-way within 30 days of that approval.

Other general information about CDOT and its policies and goals:

The Transportation Department aims to make efficient transportation viable for all commuters – cyclists, pedestrians, transit users and motorists while enhancing multi-use public spaces for all people.

City of Chattanooga Right-of-Way (ROW) and Abandonment Policy statement on Public ROW: ROW are a public resource and an integral element in shaping the community that allow access and serviceability and shape neighborhoods, commercial and industrial area. It is the intent of Chattanooga to retain ROW for public use.

National Association of City Transportation Officials Urban Street Design Guide

Development Resource Center
1250 Market Street, Suite 3030 (map)
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Office Hours: 8 am to 4:30 pm
Phone: (423) 643-5950

Request new or report problems with existing traffic control devices by calling 311, (423) 643-6311, or by visiting

Brian May