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A right-of-way is the publicly owned area in a development or neighborhood that extends beyond the back of the curb into the residential or business yard. A common misconception is that the homeowner's or business owner's property line goes right up to the curb, but it does not. The public owns a certain amount of the land behind the curb (right of way). The size of the right-of-way is not always the same for every property. Typical rights-of-way in St. Cloud are either 66 feet or 80 feet in length so anything located in that area is considered a public right-of-way.
Purpose & Permits
The right-of-way is important for the installation and maintenance of streets and private and public utilities, including electrical, phone, sewer, and water and storm sewer lines. The right-of-way area behind the curb is also used for snow storage when the city plows streets.
The city administers the use of this area with different types of permits.
An easement is the area of land that lies adjacent to the private property line. An easement allows public and private utilities to do work in the dedicated easement area without seeking permission from the property owner. The only difference between an easement and the right-of-way is the easement is private rather than public property.
Typically easements are either included as part of the original plat of the property or have been established through negotiation with a property owner. The easement stays in effect until the easement is no longer needed and is vacated. If the property is bought and sold, the easement remains in effect.