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Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need an encroachment permit? (top)

Any excavation, modification, construction activity or encroachment within the City’s right-of-way (ROW) or easement requires an encroachment permit from the City.  The City’s street ROW most commonly covers streets and sidewalks and often a few feet beyond onto the owner’s property.  The City also has various forms of public easements over private certain properties for public sewer, storm drains, utilities, access, view corridors or such other public use. Your property’s Title Report would typical identify such easements.  Encroachment permits are required for both temporary and long-term encroachments.  Typical activities that usually trigger the need for an encroachment permit include:

  • Sidewalk or driveway repairs
  • Temporary debris boxes
  • Sewer, water, or gas repairs or connections
  • Placement of benches, chairs, or planters
  • Awnings that reach over sidewalks

Contact the permit technician at 650-712-6660. Please refer to the Street Encroachment section of this website for more information.

An amended Heritage Tree Ordinance is in the Municipal Code Section 7.40

How are street light outages reported and to whom? (top)

The City maintains the street lights along Main Street from Highway 1 to Filbert Street and the 300-500 blocks of Seymour Street.  Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) maintains all the other street lights. 

PG&E lights, you may call them at 1-800-743-5002

City Lights call (650) 726-7177 or Public Works email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Please provide the following:

  • Street name and address where the light pole is located and if possible, the pole number, and a cross street
  • Type of problem with the street light: i.e. burn-out, cycles on and off repeatedly, light burns 24 hours a day, broken glassware
  • Provide your name and phone number if case additional information is needed

Where can I pick up sand bags? (top)

During each rainy season, Half Moon Bay residents can fill up sand bags at the TRAIN DEPOT 110 Higgins Canyon Road.

Who do I call to report the following:  potholes, debris in roadway, street sign blockage, fallen tree limbs in the street? (top)

To report a pothole or missing signs, contact the Public Works Department at (650) 726-7177 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and include the issue, street name, address and location

Who is responsible for street sweeping services and what is the schedule? (top)

Please see the Street Sweeping section of this website for the latest information.

Who do I contact for sewer back-up emergencies? (top)

Call a plumber to clean out the sewer lateral as most problems originate there. If it is determined that the problem is not in the property owner’s pipes, you may contact Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside (SAM) who will clear blockages that occur in sewer lines In the event of a sewer emergency such as sewage escaping the collection system or a sewage nuisance, call the Authority at: (650) 726-0124

Who do I contact regarding graffiti removal? (top)

Graffiti Abatement Hotline at (650) 712-7310 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

To report graffiti vandalism in progress, residents should call 911. If you want to report information about “taggers” anonymously, please call the HMB Sheriff Sub Station at (650) 726-8288.

When reporting graffiti, the following should be included:

  • Location:  The address, or closest address, of the affected area.  If graffiti is located at an intersection, include cross roads and directional clues (NE,SE,SW,NW).
  • Type:  Include the type of property that received the graffiti, such as a wall, curbside, telephone pole or fence.  If graffiti is located on utility poles, boxes and/or phone booths please include the company name (PG&E, Comcast, etc.) and any other identifying information that will help pin-point the location.
  • Business Name:  Permission must be obtained from the property owner to clean private property.
  • Contact Information:  name and phone number. Your contact information will not be shared.
  • Photos are instrumental