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Tag Archive | "Easements"

City Hall Corner

Easements, Miss Dig and basketball nets

The City of Cedar Springs owns and maintains different types of land easements throughout the City, the main types being utility easements and road right of way easements. There are other types of utility easements not owned by the City including telecommunications, storm-drain, natural gas and electricity amongst others.  

An easement is the legal right to use property for a specified purpose, even though that property is still owned and maintained by the property owner. Property owners must still cut the grass and shovel snow off the sidewalks despite the easement. While water and sewer lines generally run under or next to the public road, occasionally a water or sewer line will extend through or between yards for various reasons, which requires a utility easement. Likewise, the City (or Kent County Road Commission) maintains a road right of way easement anywhere there is a public road whether there are utilities present or not.   

The public road easement is generally about 33 feet from the center of the road in both directions; sometimes it is 42 feet in both directions and sometimes 16.5 feet, depending on each specific road. Utility easements are generally 30 feet wide, 15 feet on either side of the utility line. The easement area is used to place the specified utility or improvement and keep it open and available to maintenance in the future. Any object installed or placed in or upon the City’s easement is considered an encroachment and can be removed by the City at the cost of the property owner. The last thing that the DPW wants to do is have to fix a water main break underneath a home, business, garage or other building which is why we don’t allow structures or buildings to be built on top of city easements. The DPW also doesn’t want to hit anything with their trucks during brush/leaf pickup or snowplowing.

Since there are potentially dangerous utilities in the easements under the ground on your property, Michigan State law requires that you contact Miss Dig 811, Michigan’s free and easy utility notification system, prior to any digging project, any size and any depth.  The Miss Dig service will get utility lines marked so when you dig down you don’t break a utility line or potentially injure yourself. This service needs to be used for projects such as installing fence posts, mailboxes, deck piers/footings etc.

Finally, while the City continues to work on the creation of a community basketball court, I see many temporary basketball nets lining the City’s streets. Those basketball nets encroach upon and violate the City’s road easement and cannot be installed by digging or be placed on a permanent basis in the City’s easement area. The City does usually allow temporary and portable basketball nets to be placed along the edge of the road surface so long as the basketball net doesn’t cause any problems, are moved upon request and are moved out of the City’s easement area between October 1st and May 1st of the following year.

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