An Encroachment Agreement is required for any project that intrudes or encroaches upon, above, or under public streets, terraces, alleys or other public grounds. This insures that the private project will not interfere with public safety and/or public use and is in accordance with MGO 10.31 and Wis. Stats. 66.0425. To obtain an Encroachment Agreement, a Privilege in Streets application must be submitted, reviewed, and approved. Once the Privilege in Streets application has been approved for the proposed project, an Encroachment Agreement will be drafted and sent to the applicant for signature.

Some examples are:

  • Art Structures
  • Banners
  • Benches
  • Building structures
  • Entrance Signs
  • Fencing
  • Landscaping
  • Little Free Libraries
  • Monitoring Wells
  • Moped Parking Areas
  • Parking Lots
  • Permanent Canopies
  • Retaining Walls
  • Sprinkler Systems
  • Telecommunication Links / Fiber Optic Cable
  • Underground Vaults

To save time, you can apply for your other permits (if applicable) at the same time you apply for an Encroachment Agreement. It could take up to a month for review and approval of a standard encroachment agreement, and about two months for neighborhood and/or non-profit agreements, so please plan accordingly.


Fill out the application that fits your situation:

Process Overview

  1. Get Privilege in Streets Application

    Where to Go

    You may print off your application form (see above), or you can pick up an application form from the Office of Real Estate Services.

    Economic Development Division
    Office of Real Estate Services

    215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 3rd Floor
    Madison, WI 53703

    Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

  2. Apply for Privilege

    What to Include
    • The non-refundable application fee of $750, if applicable.
    • A completed application form.
    • A depiction of the structure design with dimensions or square footage, as well as a legible site plan or survey showing the location of the proposed encroaching structure(s). Application items can be mailed or emailed in PDF format.
  3. Privilege Review

    City staff advisors approve, modify or deny the application. If approved, City staff drafts a recordable agreement which includes requirements for an annual fee, insurance and a 10-day notice of removal of the encroachment. The agreement is reviewed by the City Attorney’s staff.

  4. Completion

    Standard Application

    If approved by city staff advisors, the Office of Real Estate Services will draft the Encroachment Agreement that sets forth the requirements of the privilege, and either mail or email the document to the applicant for signature. After the original signed Agreement is returned by the applicant via mail or hand-delivery, it will be circulated for signature by City staff.

    The signed Encroachment Agreement will be sent for recording with the Dane County Register of Deeds and shall run with the land in perpetuity. After the recorded original is returned to the real estate office, a copy will be sent to the applicant.

    The Economic Development Division will monitor insurance and annual fee requirements until such time the Agreement is ever terminated.

    Once your encroachment is approved, you will still need to get the necessary permits to construct your project and comply with all applicable Madison General Ordinances.

    Neighborhood Association Application

    If approved by city staff advisors, the Office of Real Estate Services will draft a Resolution based upon the city advisors comments, to be introduced to the Common Council for authorization and approval.

    Upon Council passage of the Resolution, a Letter of Agreement is sent for signature by the applicant for the privilege (Neighborhood Association to keep a copy for their records). After the letter is signed, the approved encroaching item(s) can then be placed in the authorized location under the terms of the Letter of Agreement.

    The signed Letter of Agreement is returned to the Office of Real Estate Services and placed on file with the City of Madison.

Related Forms & Handouts