Cars parked in driveway

Apply for a Curb Cut

Inspectional Services

Anyone wanting to make or change a cut in the curb of the street, such as in constructing, moving or removing a driveway must first obtain a permit from the City of Cambridge. The placement of curb cuts can have significant impacts on the safety and quality of life of the surrounding neighborhood. The City will review each permit application with due consideration to the applicant’s desire for the curb cut and public welfare.

How to Start

  1. Register for a user account with the permitting software, if you do not have one already. This is a cloud-based interface that may be accessed from any type of computer, hand-held device or web browser.
  2. Log into the online permitting portal.
  3. Fill out the application and upload required documentation in PDF format. You will have the option to save an unfinished application and complete it at a later date.
  4. Once submitted, an email link to a copy of the application will be available to you.

    AN APPLICATION IS NOT CONSIDERED RECEIVED BY INSPECTIONAL SERVICES UNTIL AN INVOICE IS SENT AND PAYMENT IS PROCESSED
  5. Upload required attachments as a PDF
    • Plot plan (survey)
    • Abutters forms
    • If unable to obtain abutter’s signatures, include a statement indicating an attempt was made
  6. Inspectional Services will review the application. 
  7. Upon approval ISD will electronically approve the application and notify the City Clerk. Additional relevant departments will review application
  8. Following all approvals by the City departments and once City Clerk receives a response from the neighborhood association, application will be placed on the City Council agenda for their approval. 

Requirements

Zoning requirements for curb cuts are detailed in Section 6.40 of the Zoning Ordinance. The City of Cambridge curb cut design review guidelines include the following:

  • Site plans submitted with the application must show driveway and curb cut widths, slopes and distance from nearest intersection, driveway, and/or crosswalk.
  • Sidewalks should continue level across the driveway curb cut.
  • Curb cuts shall comply with Zoning Ordinance 6.43:
    • Curb cuts shall be maximum 20 feet wide in Residential districts and a maximum of 30 feet wide in Open Space, Business and Industrial districts.
    • No more than one curb cut for lots with less than 100 feet of frontage. A maximum of one curb cut for every 100 feet of street frontage shall be allowed for lots with more than 100 feet of frontage.
    • The minimum width for a driveway shall be 10 feet.
    • No driveway curb cut shall be located closer than 25 feet to a street intersection or within 15 feet of a crosswalk.
    • The grade and design of any driveway providing access to an off-street parking facility shall permit a clear view, to the driver of any car exiting from the facility, of traffic on the street and of pedestrians.

The City Clerk will notify neighborhood associations in the area of the petitioner and will send a copy of this notification to the applicant. The association may make a written request for an additional week of review time. Notification will include a copy of the plot plan or drawing submitted with the application and will request that the neighborhood association inform the City Clerk whether it approves or disapproves of the application. Petitioners are urged to contact their neighborhood association early to avoid delay.

For approved applications, the private contractor is responsible for posting a bond and obtaining a permit from DPW. The work must be inspected by DPW for City standards before the bond is released.

Additional Information

Assuming that the curb cut permit process proceeds through the approval process smoothly, and that the City Council is not in recess, the application process usually takes approximately four to six weeks. Building permits in conjunction with a curb cut will not be approved until City Council approval is obtained.

Page was last modified on 7/29/2021 2:56 PM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement


Service Requests

Enter a service request via Commonwealth Connect for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.