Maps and Records



Status changes in the public right-of-way (streets and alleys) require the resolution/approval of City Council and may require additional permits. The types of status changes include:

  • Berm Use
  • Conversion to Easement
  • Dedication
  • Encroachment
  • Outright Vacation
  • Temporary Closing

Select link for a Definition of Terms


What is the process to change the status of a Right-of Way?


Application Form - Please read the submission requirements before submitting the application form. 

Approved applications are entered into the OpenGov Permitting System for review.  Applicants will receive an email to activate their OpenGov account.  Any comments provided during the review will be sent to the applicant using an automated email notification from the OpenGov System.  Applicants will be required to respond to comments when necessary to prevent being denied due to an inactive status.   


Maintenance Agreements are required for all encroachments requests,  for all non-standard construction within the right-of-way, and for new land uses that use public alleys as the primary access to property.   


Encroachments that also require a permit through the City Engineering Division must be submit at the same time as the permit submission.   Encroachments requiring a permit will not be reviewed in advance of the permit submission.   


Once your application is received you will be contacted by a member of the DPW: City Engineering Plan Review staff. 


You will also receive an email asking you to activate your OpenGov account.  Once activated you will be able to monitor your petition progress and communicate directly with reviewers.  


Submission Requirements:

  • These items should be submit along with other relevant documents. Failure to provide required items may cause the application to be denied.  
  • Letter of Intent - A letter addressed to the City  of Detroit that includes:
    • The name/contact info of the applicant (if the applicant is not the property owner the letter should establish that the applicant is representing the property owner)
    • A detailed summary of the proposal
  • Any vacation of a public street requires a letter of support from the appropriate District Manager within the Department of Neighborhoods.  
  • A site plan (not required for requests to vacate residential alleys)
    • The site plan should be created specifically for the public space 
    • The site plan is required to contain platted lots 
    • The site plan is required to contain all relevant measurements.  All encroachments require a 3-dimensional description (Length, width, height, depth). 
  • Utility Plan, if proposing an 'Outright' Vacation
    • 'Outright' vacations require the abandonment or relocating of public utilities.  The applicant must provide a utility plan showing how assets located in the street/alley will be changed (abandoned, relocated, or new easements to access utility assets).  
  • Dedications of right of way and public access easements:
    • Petitioner must present a land transfer agreement for any land being dedicated to the City of Detroit for the purpose of becomes a public right-of-way.
    • Petitioner will be advised if an Environmental Assessment will be required prior to the City accepting title to lands being dedicated. 
    • Public access easements allow public use of land without the transfer of title.  Petitioners must provide a recorded copy of the property title showing ownership of the land and the proposed public access easement that will encumber the title. 


Incomplete applications will not be accepted. 


DPW is tasked with conducting a review for all requests to change the status of a right-of-way.  During the review a notice will be sent out to various utility companies and City Departments.  Please allow 6 to 10 weeks for the completion of this review.   Upon completion of the review a recommendation will be made to City Council and a hearing will be scheduled. 

Maps and Records for public access

City of Detroit: Street and Alley Vacations. Select link > Read Description > Select to Open in Map Viewer.

This layer indicates all streets and alleys vacated 'Outright' and vacated with conversion to utility easement. This layer is updated on a regular basis. 


 Download Cartographic Surveys - Select link > Read Description > Select to Open in Map Viewer.

This layer acts as an index for downloadable Cartographic Surveys.  Each feature contains an attachment available for download. The attached Cartographic Surveys belong to a collection created between 1948 and 1958. This collection visualizes platted subdivisions and non-platted sections within the City of Detroit.  The Cartographic Surveys do not indicate whether streets or alleys have been vacated, and does not include streets or alleys that have been dedicated after 1958. 



City of Detroit: Street and Alley Openings - Select link > Read Description > Select to Open in Map Viewer.

This layer indicates City of Detroit street widenings or right-of-way dedicated to the City of Detroit for public use.



City of Detroit: Street and Alley Maintenance Agreements - Select link > Read Description > Select to Open in Map Viewer.

This layer indicates areas of right-of-way where adjacent property owners have entered into an agreement to maintain the right-of-way according to the City of Detroit Municipal Code.



City of Detroit: Act 51 - Select link > Read Description > Select to Open in Map Viewer.

This layer is the standard road map for the City of Detroit as recognized by the State of Michigan Department.



City of Detroit: Encroachments - Select link > Read Description > Select to Open in Map Viewer.

This layer indicates areas where adjacent owners are encroaching into the public right-of-way.  


If you have further questions regarding right-of-way changes, contact the DPW-City Engineering Division, Maps & Records Bureau, at (313) 224-3970.  [email protected]