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What are easements, and why should I care?

Post Date:01/01/2020 6:13 AM

An easement is a right to use another person’s property for a specific purpose. Almost every property has an easement.

The most common easement on a residential lot is a drainage and utility easement. This type of easement is  needed for stormwater runoff and underground utilities such as water, sanitary sewer, electric, gas, telephone or cable, and storm water sewer lines. Easements typically run along each property line and differ in width and length from one property to the next and can range anywhere from 5 to 50 feet wide. Easements may also be established from maintenance access to stormwater ponds, roadways, trails and sidewalks, wetland protection or other private use (gas, cable, electric, utilities , etc.). 

Easements need to remain accessible to provide utility companies and City staff access for maintenance and work on infrastructure. Here is what you should know about what you can and cannot do within an easement:

Allowed at owner's risk :

  • Irrigation systems
  • Some types of surface landscaping
  • Fences in areas that do  not contain underground city utilities or will not impede drainage. Please check with the City before installation. 

NOTE:  The City or utility company is entitled to remove any of these or similar obstructions if access is needed, at the property owner’s expense.

Improvements not allowed:

  • Retaining walls or berms
  • Paver patio
  • Driveways
  • Decks, gazebos
  • Stairs
  • Fire pits
  • Pools
  • Storage sheds/playhouses or similar structures

For more information and helpful handouts contact the City Planning Department at 952-882-2660 or go to Planning and Zoning.

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