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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 Public Works department via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone at 650-726-8266.  Most permits can be issued within a week, but some require additional research and take a little longer.   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 Public Works Department 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. 

You can contact the Public Works Department at (650) 726-7177 or Public Works email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to report a malfunctioning street light.  Please provide the following information:

  • 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

For lights maintained by PG&E, you may call them at 1-800-743-5002 or fill out an on-line form for either single or multiple outages by clicking here for the PG&E web site.

Where can I pick up sand bags? (top)

During each rainy season, sand bags are available to Half Moon Bay residents for flood control purposes only.  Sandbags are not furnished to contractors or for business/home construction projects.

Sand, bags and shovels will be available to residents and merchants to bag the sand.  Sand bag location is the restroom area grounds at the TRAIN DEPOT (110 Higgins Canyon Road - turn left after the Fire Station on Main Street).

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

The Public Works Department is responsible for maintaining street signs, pavement markings, and street repairs in the City right of way.

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)

The most expedient remedy is to call your favorite 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 street.  The following information is from the SAM website found at the event of a sewer emergency such as sewage escaping the collection system or a sewage nuisance, call the Authority at: (650) 726-0124 day or night Follow the instructions given by the voice mail system.  An Authority representative will contact you promptly.

Who do I contact regarding graffiti removal? (top)

Residents can report and remove graffiti through the 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:

Please click here for our graffiti FAQ

Waste Reduction

Simple lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in the amount of waste you produce, thereby conserving energy and resources as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some waste reduction tips.


Donate items that are in good condition to local charities and thrift stores.


One way to reduce your waste while contributing valuable nutrients to your garden is by composting your food and yard waste at home. There are three types of composting:

  • Backyard composting
  • Worm composting
  • Grasscycling

San Mateo County’s RecycleWorks provides free composting workshops and subsidizes the cost of compost and worm bins for county residents. Learn more about composting options and the benefits of composting at

New Purchases

When buying products and services, consider their impact on the environment. Try to ask yourself these questions when considering a purchase:

  • Is it durable or is it designed to be disposed?
  • Is it made locally?
  • Is it made with renewable rather than scarce resources?
  • Is it made from recycled content?
  • Is it recyclable, compostable, or reusable?
  • Is its packaging minimal and recyclable or reusable?