There is a misconception amongst the public that their property lines extend to the back of the sidewalk. Front property lines can start anywhere from 0.0 m. to 6.0 m. (0 ft. to 20 ft.) from the back of the sidewalk. Property owners are responsible for knowing the location of their property boundaries and ensuring they construct their improvements entirely on private property.
The area between the front property line and all of the area that falls between this front property line and the front property line across the street is the road right-of-way (road ROW). The boulevard between the sidewalk and the street curb is part of the road ROW. In St. Albert, it is the standard for the boulevard to contain grass. If a property owner removes the grass and replaces it with rock or any other material, that is considered an encroachment and the property owner may be asked to remediate the area back to sod or grass as per our municipal standards.
Often, during a compliance certificate application, a site visit is conducted on the property to verify items shown on the Real Property Report. Other encroachments are often identified during these visits. While their existence may not be required to be shown as part of the requirements for a Real Property Report, they are located on Public Lands, and property owners are required to bring them into compliance. While many of these encroachments can be enforced under the City's Traffic Bylaw, Engineering Services first tries to resolve these encroachment issues through the compliance process.
It is always the City's preference that encroachments be completely removed from the road ROW as they represent the greatest danger on Public Lands. Not only can these encroachments be categorized as safety and injury hazards to both the City and the public, they can damage City equipment and personal property, as well as block access to utility services, which are often located in the road ROW.
Property owners who wish to leave their encroachment on the road ROW as located will be required to enter into an Encroachment Agreement with the City. If in the professional opinion of the City Engineer, there is a significant risk to the public, interference with vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic, or utility conflict, the property owner will be required to remove the encroachment at their own expense.
Encroachment examples within a Road Right-of-Way
Last edited: November 13, 2019