Transportation - Right-of-Way

Who’s responsible for this road?

The Sherburne County Board of Commissioners adopted our transportation plan and an ordinance regulating certain activities that take place along Sherburne County Highways and the right of ways adjacent to them. All roads fall under some agencies jurisdiction. When searching for information one must first identify the agency that regulates the roadway in question. MnDOT for example is responsible for the trunk highway and freeway systems; the function of these roadways is mobility. Sherburne County is responsible for the county highway system, which are mostly collector type roadways. These collectors allow limited access with the primary function being mobility. The cities within the county have jurisdiction over the streets within their city limits. The townships govern the remainder of the roads, streets and avenues; generally the function of these roadways is for greater access, however mobility is still necessary.

Sherburne County Public works is responsible for managing many issues including safety, within the road right of way along our County Highway system. Certain roadways have joint jurisdiction, such as a County Highway entering a city’s limits, therefore information and regulation may be required from both agencies. Generally in this situation the most restrictive ordinance will be applied. Every time any work is proposed within the right of way along a County Highway a permit is required.

ATV's and Snowmobiles

Some ATV's and snowmobiles may be operated in the right-of-ways on the ditch bottoms and back slopes at designated times of the year, as allowed by State Law, County or City Ordinance, and as otherwise restricted by lawful regulation. It is unlawful to obstruct or perform detrimental operations within the road right-of-way, unless otherwise authorized by law. If you believe damage is being done to your property, the lawful recourse is to report the activity to your local law enforcement agency and provide a description of the machine, license number, or other identifying information.

Common Right-of-Way Allowances

The only things allowed in the right-of-way:

  • Property owner's authorized mailbox, pursuant to State regulations.
  • Authorized drainage culverts.
  • Permitted utilities (public or private).
  • Authorized signage as required to maintain safety on the roadway.
  • Fire numbers

Common right-of-way violations:

The following activities or items are prohibited in the right-of-way:

  • Mailbox settings not conforming to legal standards.
  • Construction or reconstruction of an access without a permit.
  • Plowing snow across the roadway.
  • Construction of landscape retaining walls without a permit.
  • Placement of fences, posts, holes, trees, or shrubbery.

Violations are unlawful and may result in legal action that is administrative or criminal. Sherburne County requires the removal of prohibited items, or correction of any such action which is a violation of the law, or that may otherwise constitute a potential safety hazard. The cost of such removal or correction is at the owner's sole expense. A property owner who is provided notification of the violation must take immediate corrective measures to restore the right-of-way to its former condition, or Sherburne County has the ability to keep the right-of-way open and safe. If a property owner commits a right-of-way violation and an individual is injured because of the violation, the property owner may be held liable. If the property owner does not remedy the violation immediately upon notification, Sherburne County has the ability to dispatch crews and equipment to remedy it, and recoup the costs from the property owner.

Public Works Contact:

Sherburne County Govt Center
ATTN: Public Works
13880 Business Center Dr NW
Suite 100
Elk River, MN 55330-4668

Office Location & Hours

Phone: 763-765-3300
Fax: 763-765-3301
Contact Sherburne County with your questions, comments and feedback