Right-of-Way (ROW) and Corner Visibility

The City owns a portion of the land between the street and people's homes. This area, called a boulevard, is public land because it falls within the right-of-way (ROW). ROW, which includes the street and boulevard area, is land specifically dedicated for public purposes, such as street and utility work.

right-of-way illustrationThe City uses the boulevard to maintain and construct roadways, sidewalks, sewer lines, gas lines, phone lines, and other utilities and to store snow.

The size of the boulevard adjacent to a property depends on the size of the dedicated ROW, the width of the street, and the location of the street within the ROW. The majority of streets in Golden Valley have a ROW of either 50 or 60 feet. For example: if the ROW is 60 feet and the street is 30 feet wide and centered on the ROW, then the boulevard on each side of the street would measure 15 feet. This is very common in Golden Valley but not the case for every street.

Managing ROW

Property owners are required to mow and maintain the boulevard area adjacent to their property.

To provide for the health, safety, and well being of its citizens, and to ensure the integrity of its streets and the appropriate use of the ROW, the City of Golden Valley strives to keep all ROW in good repair and free from unnecessary obstructions.

To uphold these standards, the City imposes reasonable regulations on current and future placement and maintenance of equipment and facilities within the ROW. These are intended to complement the regulatory roles of state and federal agencies, which grant the City authority to manage all ROW within its jurisdiction.

Golden Valley’s City Code provides regulations for managing excavations and obstructions in the City ROW. In addition to utilities, the City Code addresses three specific areas related to ROW management: trees and plantings, construction of sidewalks and driveways, and corner visibility.

Trees and Plantings

No one may place plants or other objects (eg, fences, flower gardens, shrubs, trees, retaining walls, and invisible fence or lawn irrigation systems) over, under, or across the ROW without a permit from the City.  Any plants or objects within the ROW are subject to removal, trimming, or relocation as determined necessary by the City.

The City retains control of all plantings, shrubs, and trees in or overhanging all ROW. No one should plant or remove trees or other plants in the ROW, except for sod and low-lying plants 12 inches in height or less.

Sidewalk and Driveway Construction

All work on sidewalks and driveways within City right-of-way requires a ROW permit issued by the City. This construction is the property owner’s responsibility but must conform to the City’s requirements. The property owner is responsible for any damage to the street or ROW.

Corner Visibility

Drawing showing corner visibility trimming detailVisibility at all street intersections is a major public safety concern.

Although every intersection is different, every street corner has a designated corner visibility zone, and a few general guidelines apply to visibility zones. Existing trees, shrubs, and grasses must be maintained to provide clear lines of sight through the zone. This means plants or structures in the corner visibility zone must be lower than 30 inches and higher than eight feet above the gutter line.

drawingTo determine your corner visibility zone, start at the (extended) intersection of the two curb lines (see drawing at right), then measure 45 feet in each direction. Mark both points, then draw a line diagonally from one point to the other. The area between the line and the street is the corner visibility zone, and a ROW permit is required for planting or building in this area. The same basic principle applies for sharp curves in the roadway.

Corner visibility violations result in written notice requesting removal of items restricting visibility. If the object(s) remain in the corner visibility zone within the time specified in the notice (not less than 10 days), the City will remove the offending objects and bill all associated costs to the responsible property owner. If the bill is not paid within 30 days of the invoice date, the unpaid costs may be assessed against the property.

ROW Permits

Unless otherwise provided in the City Code, no person may obstruct or excavate in the ROW without first obtaining a ROW permit from the City. Obstructions approved by permit are the responsibility of the property owner. The City reserves the right to remove any obstruction in the ROW without notice and is not liable for any damages to the obstruction at any time.