Public Works


Public Works will review any building permit that affects the sidewalk, curb, and gutter—what is often called “the public right-of-way”—as well as insuring safe specifications and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for accessibility standards.

Traffic Impact Fee


Traffic Impact Fees are fees assessed by the City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department on commercial and residential development projects based on new net traffic generated by those uses. TIF Fees are used to address needed traffic improvements at key intersections for circulation and alternative transportation improvements. Funding is divided up between specific projects identified on a priority list (85%), alternative transportation (15%), and intersection and neighborhood traffic (5%).

TIF fees are assessed for a commercial or residential development project when the use occupies more than 1,000 square feet and there are projected new net traffic impacts related to the proposed future use so it is important to consider previous uses and zoning when siting your business or development project. TIF fees are calculated during the permitting process and an estimate of the fee can be determined prior to submitting for permits if you have the information needed to make the calculation.


The TIF fee is based on the criteria below and the use and related impact is determined by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Trip Generation Manual, 9th edition as follows:

  • your location
  • the previous business or use type for that location (if any)
  • your business or use type for the same location
  • the square footage of your space
  • and the type of development

Example: A restaurant moving into a warehouse space will generate a TIF fee because the restaurant will generate more traffic coming and going to the space than the warehouse use did previously. However, a similar restaurant use moving into a restaurant space within six months and with the same number of seats and/or square footage as the previous restaurant use would not generate a TIF fee because traffic would be estimated to stay the same for that location.

While industry standard traffic formulas are used to calculate the volume of traffic, business uses are often unique. We encourage you to discuss the nuances of your business or project use with Public Works to assess the TIF fee calculation. For more information please contact Dan Estranero, Associate Engineer, by phone 831-420-5189 or email.

Trash/Recycling Enclosure

If the location of your business does not have a trash enclosure or the enclosure does not meet the City's design standards under the Best Management Practices for the City's Storm Water Management Program, then you may have to upgrade the trash enclosure. The Public Works Department has developed new design guidelines for trash enclosures to make it easy for design professionals to make the necessary upgrades. Public Works staff will assist in the sizing and location planning for the enclosure. Learn more here: City of Santa Cruz Refuse Container Design Standard.

For more information contact Aaron Becker by phone at 831-420-5176 or email.

Storm Water Management

State and federal storm water regulations require development and remodeling projects in the City to incorporate design standards and Best Management Practices in order to reduce storm water pollution and minimize the potential for erosion. Across the city, it helps us to maintain the spectacular Monterey Bay and our overall quality of life.

The Best Management Practices for commercial facilities, development, and construction can be found here: Storm Water Best Management Practices.

Food Service Requirements

If you plan to open a food service business (restaurants, fast food establishments, cafes, grocery stores, and food preparation facilities) you will be required to follow the Mandatory Best Management Practices for Food Facilities developed by the Public Works Department. It’s an easy guide to help you understand ways to divert pollutants from entering our local storm drains.

Depending on the type of food service business you plan to operate, you may be required to install a grease trap or interceptor. The Environmental Compliance Manager requires food service businesses to complete a Wastewater Discharge Questionnaire to determine the size of grease trap or interceptor needed.

If you choose a location that was previously the same food service use as the one you plan to operate, then there may already be a grease trap in place. If the grease trap is properly sized, you may be able to save money because you won’t have to install or improve the grease trap for your food service use. Score!

For more information visit the Environmental Compliance website or please call a City Environmental Compliance Inspector at 831-420-6050.


The City provides commercial, industrial and institutional refuse pickup one to six days a week, as needed. Containers options include:

  • Carts — 20, 32, 64 and 95 gallon
  • Containers — 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 yard
  • Roll-off boxes — 10, 15, 20 and 30 yard
  • Temporary service — 5 and 10 day temporary service is available for containers and roll-off boxes.

The City also provides recycling containers and collection to refuse customers at no additional cost Place clean paper, cardboard, glass and plastic bottles, cans and plastic containers in your recycling cart or dumpster.

All commercial users are charged a flat monthly fee plus a quantity charge per 100 cubic feet (CCF) of water used. The CCF charge is calculated to reflect the amount of water used that does not go to the sewer system -- for example, water used for irrigation. For businesses, we assume that 20% of the water used does not drain to the sewer system.

Definition of Business Users

The sewer rates have the following business classifications:

  • High Strength
  • Medium Strength
  • Low Strength
  • Hotel/Motel