Town Talk: New Ulm Right-of-Way Management Ordinance

The City of New Ulm has recently adopted a new right-of-way management ordinance (Section 6.21). The City holds the rights-of-way within its geographical boundaries as an asset in trust for its citizens. The City and other public entities have invested substantial dollars in public funds to build and maintain improvements within the rights-of-way. The City recognizes that placing other utility equipment in the rights-of-way for the purpose of delivering services to the citizens of the City is a public use of this property for the public good.

The ordinance serves to provide for the health, safety and well-being of its citizens, and to ensure the structural integrity of its streets, utilities and the appropriate use of the rights-of-way, the City strives to keep its rights-of-way in a state of good repair and free from unnecessary encumbrances. Although the general population bears the financial burden for the upkeep of the rights-of-way, one of the causes for the early and excessive deterioration of its rights-of-way is frequent excavation. This ordinance imposes reasonable regulations on the placement and maintenance of equipment currently within its rights-of-way or to be placed therein at some future time. It is intended to complement the regulatory roles of the state and federal agencies. Under this ordinance, persons disturbing and obstructing the rights-of-way will bear a fair share of the financial responsibility for their integrity.

A person or entity wishing to perform any work within the right-of-way, including boulevard and sidewalk areas shall first be registered with the City. Registration is an annual requirement and expires on Dec. 31st of each calendar year. The following information is required for registration: 1) $100 registration fee; 2) Completed registration form, available on the City website or Engineering Office; and 3) Certificate of Insurance with the general liability and comprehensive requirements and amounts stated within the ordinance. The insurance shall run concurrently throughout the 24-month warranty period for the work being performed.

Once registered, the person or entity will need to complete a right-of-way permit application for each individual project. This new permit replaces the current excavation permit. The following information is required when applying for a right-of-way permit: 1) Completed permit application form, available on the City website or Engineering Office; 2) Permit fee, $50 for a roadway excavation, $20 for a boulevard only excavation (if both roadway and boulevard excavation only the $50 fee will apply); 3) Scaled drawing showing the proposed improvements; 4) Traffic Control Plan that complies with the current Minnesota Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices; 5) Schedule for proposed improvements; and 6) Security payment of not less than $5,000, payment may be surety bond, letter of credit or cash deposit.

The items listed above are the major changes that you will encounter when applying to work within the City rights-of-way. The full ordinance is available for review at the Engineering Office or on the City website, “” If you are needing to work within the right-of-way it is recommended that you review the ordinance to fully understand the requirements of the ordinance. Our staff will work with you to understand and adapt to the new processes. If you have any questions as you review the requirements, please contact the Engineering Office at 507-359-8380.

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to