Guide to Right-of-Way Regulations

The purpose of this page is to help guide new home builders about what can and what cannot be placed or constructed within the County right-of-way.

What is Right-of-Way?

Right-of-way is the area of ground controlled by the County for constructing and maintaining county roads, signs, and roadway drainage. The County has jurisdiction over all public roads outside incorporated cities or towns.

If you live in a platted subdivision the right-of-way is shown on the Secondary Plat which is on file in the Hancock County Recorder's Office. If your land is not platted, the right-of-way may be detailed in the property description of your deed or recorded as a separate right-of-way document. Finally, the right-of-way may be an apparent right-of-way which is determined by the past use of the land. A private surveyor can help you research and determine the right-of-way if it is not platted.

What Is Not Allowed

The following are not allowed within the right-of-way:

  • Any type of structure or fence
  • Brick or concrete mailbox posts (must meet mailbox ordinance)
  • Cutting of the curb or street pavement
  • Debris or Waste
  • Depositing materials into the drainage system through erosion, tracking of mud, or cleaning of equipment
  • Excavation resulting in drainage changes
  • Filling of roadside ditches
  • Landscape mounding
  • Landscape timbers/railroad ties
  • Planters
  • Retaining walls
  • Rocks or Stones
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Tracking of mud or soil onto County roads
  • Trees

What is Allowed

The following items will be allowed within the right-of-way. However, some may require a permit.

  • Mailboxes with a wood, plastic, or light metal post are allowed within the right-of-way per the County mailbox ordinance.
  • Excavation outside the paved roadway area for utility tape is allowed with an approved permit.
  • Normal yard maintenance (i.e., mowing grass, raking leaves, etc.) and driveway maintenance does not require a permit.
  • Changing of the driveway or adding a new driveway with an approved permit
  • Safety and maintenance

Your cooperation with these requirements is greatly appreciated. This allows us to maintain safe roads with good sight distance and no roadside hazards. Maintenance costs are also reduced keeping our taxes lower and our streets in the best possible condition.


If you have further questions or need clarification on what has been presented here, please contact the Hancock County Highway Department at 317-477-1130.