Easements are important ways the city and utility companies maintain access to necessary underground lines. City Code 90.16 prohibits property owners from building any structure (including a fence) or adding any landscaping to an easement or right-of-way without obtaining written approval from the city.
What is an Easement?
Easements are created during the platting process to accommodate storm water run-off and buried utilities, such as sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water, electrical, gas, telephone or cable television lines. The easements serve as an access point for authorized personnel to enter for inspection and maintenance purposes.
When you purchase a home, the builder or previous owners should provide you with a certificate of survey at closing clearly showing the property lines and all easements on the lot. If you cannot find this survey, contact the Building Division at City Hall for a copy or your survey.
Property owners must obtain a Fence Permit before installing, replacing, repairing or moving a fence to ensure access to the easement is maintained.
Easement and Right-of-Way Encroachments
No trees, shrubs, bushes, fences, retaining walls or other objects will be allowed in an easement or right-of-way unless the property owner receives written permission from the city and the encroachment is in conformance with the city’s most recently adopted easement policy.
The city can require any obstructions in an easement or right-of-way be removed at the owner’s expense. In non-emergent situations, the city will try to give the property owner a reasonable amount of time to remove the obstruction. However, if the property owner does not remove the obstruction as requested or if there is an emergency situation, the city can remove the obstruction and charge the property owner for the expenses. The city will not be required to compensate the owner for the cost of the repair, replacement or removal of the object.
Contractors and utility companies working in a right-of-way must obtain a Right-of-Way Permit before beginning work.
City Code prohibits property owners on corner lots from landscaping or planting any object that rises 3 feet above the surface of the road. This is meant to preserve corner visibility so that vehicles can see approaching traffic.
More information about ensuring your yard conforms to city code: Home & Yard Projects
James Henderson, Senior Public Works Technician | (952) 233-9368