Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need a permit to work in the Right-of-Way?
A permit is required when work is done in the public right-of-way or when there is an obstruction in the public right-of-way. The public right-of-way includes:
- Driveway aprons
- Other rights-of-way dedicated for public use
For more information please refer to the permits page.
- Do I need a permit to construct a sidewalk, curb and gutter, driveway, or perform a curb cut?
A permit is required for this type of work and can be obtained on the permits page.
- What number do I call to get underground utilities located?
Contact Gopher State One Call at 800-252-1166.
- How do I find my property irons?
It is the responsibility of the property owner to determine where the property lines are located. Property iron stakes are placed at the corners of the lot usually at or below grade, and sometimes can be found using a metal detector. The City does not provide surveying services. A list of local land surveyors and drafters is available here. Approximate property lines and dimensions can be found on the Steele County GIS Map.
- How does the City choose which roads receive maintenance?
The City routinely inspects all the pavements within Owatonna before deciding what to do and when to do maintenance. The staff looks for common distresses such as loss of aggregates, cracks, and distortions to help determine what is going on beneath the pavement as well as the surface of the roadway. The distresses are recorded in a database that considers the road conditions, prior maintenance history, and other factors to help determine the most cost-effective treatment and appropriate time to apply the treatment. The City also reviews available funding and other projects in the area that might influence the selection of the roads.
- How does the City determine special assessments?
Find this information on the Special Assessments and Improvement Policy page.
- Do I need a permit to perform land disturbing activities (grading, excavation, fillings, grubbing, etc.)?
If the project disturbance is equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet or involves the construction of a new single family residence then a Grading / ESC Permit is required. You are also required to provide erosion and sediment control / stormwater pollution prevention BMPs during the land disturbing activities.
- Can I plant a tree in the Right-of-Way and which trees are permitted to be planted in the boulevard?
Planting trees in the right-of-way (boulevard) is done by the City Forestry Division. The City of Owatonna has an list of small and large boulevard trees that are approved for planting. To request a new or replacement boulevard tree, please contact the Public Works Office by email, by phone 507-444-4350, or fill out an online boulevard tree order form.
- Who do I contact with concerns about the City trimming boulevard trees?
The City has the responsibility to verify that trees and landscape amenities in the Right-of-Way do not present a hazard to the public. City maintenance crews commonly perform tree trimming maintenance for trees located in the Right-of-Way. Please direct any questions or concerns to Public Works at 507-444-4350 or submit a Public Works Maintenance Request.
- Who do I contact about trees in overhead power lines?
Please contact Owatonna Public Utilities at 507-451-2480.
- Are there restrictions about cutting down trees on my own property?
Residents are encouraged to help keep all trees in the community alive and healthy. The City of Owatonna does not have restrictions about cutting down trees on private property unless:
- The trees were required by the Zoning Ordinance
- The trees were required by the Stormwater Management Ordinance
- How do I prevent my tree from being infested with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)?
The only way to prevent your ash tree from becoming infested with EAB is to have it treated with an appropriate pesticide. However, this will need to be applied regularly every 1 to 3 years depending on the pesticide used. A better long term solution is to remove the tree and replace with an alternative species. Visit the EAB page for more information.
- What should I do if I see EAB?
If you suspect you have found EAB please email the Arrest the Pest Hotline or call 888-545-6684.
- Does the City still enforce removal of Dutch Elm Disease?
Yes, however the Forestry Division manages the occurrence of Dutch Elm Disease on a limited as needed basis.
- When are streets plowed?
According to the City of Owatonna’s Snow and Ice Control Policies and Procedures, City crews begin snow and ice control operations when two inches of snow accumulate, when drifting snow causes problems for travelling, when icy conditions affect travel or when road conditions could deteriorate due to peak traffic volumes. Full mainline and cul-de-sac plowing operations begin at various times, depending on the start time and duration of the storm event. Routes and operations are designed to maintain access of emergency vehicles to all areas as a first priority. The plowing of high volume roadways generally occurs first, followed by residential plowing. In general, city roadways are cleared of snow within 8 to 12 hours of the end of the storm events. These guidelines are used to remove snow from streets throughout the city including in the downtown area.
- When is snow removed from the new raised crosswalks, alleys and curb bump-outs downtown?
The new downtown streetscape includes raised crosswalks, walkable alleys and curb bump-outs to help achieve the vision for this project to improve accessibility and pedestrian safety. City crews are responsible for clearing snow and ice from these areas. These areas are snow removal crews’ priority and are done periodically throughout each snowfall event.
- What part of sidewalks are business owners responsible for removing snow from?
While the new sidewalk dimensions and surfaces are different from the former ones, the area that downtown merchants must shovel remains the same – straight out from storefronts to the curb. In areas where planters have been installed, merchants are responsible for removing snow and ice from around all sides of the planters adjacent to their storefronts. In the 200 block while barricades remain, the construction contractor will help with removing snow from sidewalks.
- How do I report mailbox damage?
You may request an investigation of mailbox damage with the Public Works Department by contacting 507-444-4350 or submit a Public Works Maintenance Request. Find more information regarding mailbox damage issues here.
- Where should snow shoveled from downtown sidewalks be placed?
Downtown merchants can shovel snow from the surface abutting their property onto the street where City staff will remove it. This should be done as soon as possible after snowfall events and prior to when City staff plows snow and must be done within 12 hours following each snowfall event.
- What special care needs to be taken with the fresh concrete surfaces downtown?
Only plastic-edged shovels and salt-free grit should be used on new concrete sidewalks. Metal edges and salt cause deterioration. City crews have designed an innovative snow removal plowing edge to ensure the new street surfaces downtown are preserved.
- Where can questions or concerns be directed regarding snow removal?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (507) 444-4350.
- How do I report a pothole?
To report a pothole on business days between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., call 507-444-4350 or submit an online Public Works Maintenance Request Form. When calling please be ready to provide the location by listing the street or avenue the pothole is located and the house number or cross street nearest the pothole.
- How do I report a street light issue?
If a street light in your neighborhood is out or has any other issues, please contact Owatonna Public Utilities at 507-451-2480.
- Can I rake my leaves, grass clippings, or other yard waste in the street for the City to pick-up?
The City of Owatonna does not provide leaf or yard waste pick-up service. It is a violation of City Code to rake leaves and grass clippings into the street. This debris will plug the storm system and degrade the water quality in our nearby waterways.
- Can I deposit or store a dumpster in the street?
You must apply for an Obstruction Permit, a Certificate of Insurance is required from the Garbage Hauling Company and the fee must be paid prior to the placement of the dumpster.
- Can I store landscape materials in the street?
Landscape materials cannot be stored in the roadway. The City of Owatonna does not issue permits for the storage of such materials.
- Who do I contact to request a temporary street closure?
Contact the Public Works Department at 507-444-4350. You are required to obtain an Obstruction Permit.