Vaults are below-grade (subsurface) projections that are covered on top, and are used for a variety of puposes, such as for parking garages or housing electrical transformers.
As DDOT is responsible for the preservation and maintenance of public space in the District of Columbia, no vaults shall remain in public space unless authorized by a valid permit issued by DDOT. (DCMR 24-215).
Procedures & Services
Vault permit applications must be submitted through DDOT's Transportation Online Permitting System (TOPS).
Vault permit applications shall include a site plan showing the location and dimensions of the vault, all openings, and its depth. The applicant shall also record with the Recorder of Deeds a written agreement signed by the owner of the abutting property contracting to release and relinquish the vault space, and to remove, free of expense to the District of Columbia, all structural parts of the vault when so ordered by a code official (DDOT Public Realm Design Manual, 5.4.2: Vaults).
The average time for a vault permit application is 30 days.
The accepted uses, placement, and design standards for vaults are outlined in the DDOT Public Realm Design Manual, 5.4.2: Vaults.
Transportation Plans & Studies