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Utility easements are strips of land used by utility companies to construct and maintain overhead electric, telephone and cable television lines and underground electric, water, and sewer, telephone, and cable television lines.
The property owner owns all of the land including the utility easements. However, utilities have a right to access that portion of land which has been designated a utility easement.
Utility easements are usually created at the time a plat for a new development is designed. Utility easements almost always exist along streets and along rear lot lines, and sometimes exist between two lots.
Keeping utility easements clear helps utility companies:
Infrastructure construction is subject to Building Setback Lines, and therefore cannot be built within the easement. Setback lines are shown on your subdivision plat. Subdivision plats are available at the City’s planning department.
An obstruction in the way of a utility company lengthens outage or interruption by making the utility company move obstructions out of the way. The damage caused by moving an object out of the way or removing a fence is not the responsibility of the utility company. The utility company, by the rights of the easement, has the power to do what it takes to maintain the utility.
Most Utilities encourage decorative landscaping within the utility right-of way with the understanding that any materials placed within the boundaries of the utility easement are subject to damage and are not the responsibility of the utility owner. Any replacement cost for such damages is clearly at the discretion of the utility owner.
By law, Utilities have the right to mark utility locations in a discrete, non-obtrusive manner, within the boundaries of the utility easement. The type, color and location of these markings are regulated under state law. Although utilities will usually make an effort to limit damage to landscaping, all damages to landscaping located within the boundaries of the utility easement are the responsibility of the land-owner.