What is a utility easement?

Keep utility easements in mind.

When a parcel of land is being developed, all utility companies (gas, electric, telephone, cable TV, water, sewer, etc.) typically secure an easement for the area in which they will place their wire, pipes and other equipment. Land in the area covered by an easement belongs to the property owner, but the easement gives the utility permission to access its wires, pipes and other equipment.

According to the recorded easement, a property owner is not allowed to significantly change the grade within the easement and is also supposed to leave the area free of items that impede or prohibit access. This would restrict things like planting of trees, bushes and other foliage as well as building of sheds and storage of equipment within the easement. According to most easements, any costs incurred by easement holders to remove items causing interference are to be paid by the property owner.

We realize it is not always practical for homeowners to keep the easement totally free from plantings. However, if we need to gain access through the easement, restoration of trees, bushes, buildings and so on is not required. Cedarburg Light & Water will restore any ground cover such as grass and mulch that may have been disrupted. If there is an extenuating circumstance, utility personnel will discuss this with the property owner.

So if you’ve got plans for outdoor projects, please keep your utility easements in mind.

Remember to call Diggers Hotline before you dig at 811.