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City of Hutchinson
111 Hassan ST SE
Hutchinson, MN 55350
(P)320-587-5151
(F)320-234-4240

 
Police

Q. Is my child in violation of the curfew if he goes to a school event until 10:30 p.m. and walks home?
A. No, provided he takes the most direct route home. The curfew applies to any minor under the age of seventeen and states it is unlawful for any minor person (under 17) to be or loiter upon the streets or public places between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the day following. Such curfew shall not apply to any minor student who is lawfully attending, going to or returning from school, church or community sponsored athletic, musical or social activities or events. Provided, however, that after 10:00 p.m., any such minor shall take the most direct route to such minor’s destination.
You can request of a copy of the Curfew Ordinance at Hutchinson Police Services.

Q. Can I drive my snowmobile on city streets?
A. Only if you are NOT within the “downtown area” and are on the most direct route from your residence to the nearest departure point from the City or appropriate snowmobile trail.
You can request a complete copy of the Snowmobile Ordinance at Hutchinson Police Services.

Q. Can you tell me what the road conditions are?
A. We do not always have the most up-to-date road conditions, especially in areas outside of the city limits. Please call 1-511 or go to Mn/Dot’s Traveler Information Service at 511mn.org.

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Garbage/Composting/Recycling

Q. How many biodegradable bags should a household use per week?
A. Every household is given enough compost bags to use two per week. If one goes through more than the allotted, additional bags can be purchased at City Center or Creek Side Compost Facility. ($5.00/10 bags)

Q. What is the benefit of downsizing the size of my garbage cart?
A. By downsizing your regular refuse cart, your monthly refuse bill will decrease. Residents also have the option with the 30-gallon refuse cart to have every other week refuse pick-up. The organic cart and recycling bin will still be picked up weekly. The every other week pick-up encourages residents to use alternatives to general waste disposal.

Q. Can everyday plastic bags (from grocery stores and department stores) be composted and put into my green organic cart?
A. No. Plastic bags DO NOT break down in the composting process. Plastic bags must be brought to local drop off sites or thrown in the regular garbage. The biodegradable compost bags one receives are made from a cornstarch-based material and degrade quickly when exposed to heat, moisture and UV.

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Leaf Vacuum Service

Q. How do I stack my leaves for the vacuum?
A. Leaves should be raked onto the street, in the gutter line, and be piled up against the curb. It is important to keep leaves as close to the curb as possible. We recommend you rake leaves at your convenience and store them on the grass near the street. The evening before the vacuum comes, simply move the pile into the street up against the curb. Make sure to park cars in areas that do not block the leaf vacuum.

Q. You skipped the pile in front of my house, now what do I do?
A. Because of the length of daily routes, the leaf vacuum will not be coming back until the following week. The most likely reason your leaves were skipped was that cars were parked in the way. Another common reason is that there was debris other than leaves in the pile that could have caused damage to the leaf vacuum. Pull any debris out of the pile and rake the leaves back up onto the grass. The following week, rake the leaves back into the street up against the curb the evening before the leaf vacuum is scheduled.

Q. When do my leaves get vacuumed up?
A. Beginning in mid-October through the week before Thanksgiving, the leaf vacuum will pass by your house between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on the day after your garbage is collected.

Q. What time of day will leaf vacuuming start?
A. We anticipate that leaf vacuums will typically operate between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., but there may be times they could be operating as late as 5:00 p.m.

Q. Is leaf vacuuming dangerous?
A. We warn people to keep their children away from leaf piles. The vacuum is very powerful, so we want to avoid any potential injury. People should also keep small pets away from the piles for the same reason.

Q. What do you do with the leaves that are vacuumed?
A. They are brought to Creekside to be composted and used in soil products produced there.

Q. What does a leaf vacuum look like and how does it work?
A. The leaf vacuum is a large trailer with its own motor that is towed by an agricultural tractor. Leaves are vacuumed up through a large diameter hose. The sides of the box stick out from the main box of the trailer to divert air from the top of the trailer to the bottom, which helps to reduce dust. The leaves hit an impeller fan and are shredded before being deposited into the 25 cubic yard trailer box. Once the box is full, operators transport the leaves to Creekside. Operators then return to the neighborhood they are vacuuming and continue until the route is complete.

Q. Can I buy leaf bags and have the garbage company pick them up at the curb?
A. The program of bagged leaf pick-up on the bouelvard will continue “as is” for the Spring 2011 pick-up (and beyond).  We will sell large compostable bags year round.

Starting in the Fall of 2010 and successive years (in Fall),  Waste Management will no longer pick-up bagged leaves. Citizens may put their leaves ultimately in the gutter and have them vacuumed.

If the resident wants to trailer their leaves to Creekside in Fall (or anytime of the year), they can still do that.  Large bags will be available to help with this process.

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Planning/Zoning

Q. How far from the property line must a fence be placed?
A. Section 10.07 of the Hutchinson Zoning Ordinance allows fences in all districts to be built up to, but not on, the property lines except on corner lots. Fence requirements

Q. Where can a utility shed be placed in my yard?
A. No accessory building may be placed in front of the principal building. Utility buildings in residential districts shall not exceed 12’X16’ and shall be 6 feet or more from all lot lines of adjoining lots and shall not be located within a utility easement.
Accessory Structure Site requirements

Q. Is there a requirement regulating sizes of detached garages?
A. Yes, sec 7.14 of the Hutchinson Zoning Ordinance states detached garages may not exceed 1000 square feet. Garages exceeding 1000 square feet may be allowed with a Conditional Use Permit. . Accessory Structure Site requirements

Q. Am I allowed to build a pole type building on my property?
A. Pole buildings may be permitted only if siding and roofing and building materials are similar to the principal structure. Pole buildings may be allowed only by Conditional Use Permit.

Q. Can I split a lot leaving a garage/accessory building on the new lot without a house?
A. You may split the lot leaving an accessory building alone on the lot however, a house must be built within one year of approval of the lot split or the accessory building must be removed.

Q. Why are there requirements for measurements from my property line?
A. Setback requirements protect the property owner from major encroachments on or near their property. Setbacks also ensure proper room for utility and street uses and drainage. Lot Dimensions and Setback requirements: Residential -- Industrial -- Commercial

Q. How is a setback measured?
A. A setback is generally measured from the structure to the property line. However, since property lines are typically not visible, it is best to contact the Planning Department at 320-234-4203 for more information.
Lot Dimensions and Setback requirements: Residential -- Industrial -- Commercial

Q. Does my property line begin at the curb?
A. Not necessarily. The street right-of-way determines where the property line begins. In most cases, the property line is setback 10 feet from the curb. This is a general “rule of thumb”. However, there could be more or less right of way depending on the area of town.
Locating Property Lines.

Q. Are there requirements regulating signs and do I need a permit?
A. Yes, there are sign requirements regulating signage in the City of Hutchinson according to zoning districts.
Sign Regulations: Commercial -- Residential/Industrial

Q. Can I subdivide my property?
A. The answer to this question is dependent upon several elements, including zoning of the property; size of the parcel; availability of roads, sewer and water; etc. Platting procedures will help explain the process. It is best to contact the Planning Department at (320) 234-4258 or (320) 234-4203 for more information.

Q. How long does it take to get a Conditional Use Permit or Variance approved?
A. It will take 6 weeks. Due to advertising deadlines we must have your application into the Planning Department on or before the third Wednesday of the month to be placed on the following month agenda. The Planning Commission meets the second Tuesday of the month and the City Council meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month to discuss and act on the Planning Commission recommendations.

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Building

Q. Is treated wood required for a bottom plate in a basement?
A. Yes. The 2006 I.R.C. Sec. R319.1 states “protection from decay must be provided when … sills and sleepers on a concrete or masonry slab that is in direct contact with the ground unless separated from such slab by an impervious moisture barrier.

Q. Why do I need a permit to replace a water heater or furnace?
A. The City has found numerous gas leaks in fittings, mainly on furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces, Inspectors also look for gas shutoffs to be installed in the correct location and the correct venting of flue gasses to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Q. How long does it take to get a permit?
A. Some permits can be issued immediately over the counter, these include: roofing, siding, and window replacement. Other permits require plans to be submitted and the review of these may take up to one week

Q. How long is a permit valid?
A. A permit is valid for 180 days with no work being done.

Q. The contractor I hired wants me to take out the permit. Is this a good idea?
A. NO. Contractors are required to be licensed by the State. Contractor licensing, in part, verifies that the contractor is maintaining liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance, which helps to protect the property owner in case an accident occurs. Hiring a licensed contractor also makes you eligible to participate in the contractor’s recovery fund, which could help you recover funds if the contractor de-faults or problems occur. www.doli.state.mn.us

Q. Does the city recommend contractors or provide a list of recommended ones.
A. No, the City cannot make any recommendations for contractors. But can distribute a list of licensed contractors in the area.

Q. Why do I need a permit to finish my basement? Only my family and myself will be living in the home?
A. Homes on the average, sell or turnover once every five years. In the future other families will inhabit your home. Anyone purchasing a used home wants that home to be safe. Permits and inspections help ensure a safer housing stock.

Q. I’m thinking of remodeling my basement. Can I do my own plumbing and electrical work or do I need to hire licensed contractors?
A. Homeowners may perform their own plumbing and electrical work on a home they reside in, provided they obtain a permit and have the work inspected.

Q. Does your department handle electrical inspections?
A. No, electrical inspections are performed by the State Electrical Inspector.
Contact Rod VanOrt 320-593-2880. Monday – Friday, 7:00a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Q. When scheduling an inspection, how much notice is required to ensure an inspection when I need it?
A. At least 24 hours notice is preferred; most inspections requested before 9:00 a.m. can be scheduled the same day, but may not guaranty the exact time you may desire.

Q. When you say my deck footings must be 18” in diameter, does that mean all the way from the surface down to the minimum 42” in depth?
A. No, the footing must be the required size only in the bottom 12 inches of the footing. You may reduce the diameter to the surface. The sides must be uniform and smooth, or concrete “tube” type forms are acceptable.

Q. Why would I need an engineer to design my basement walls?
A. An engineer is required for any foundation walls over 10 feet, measured from the basement floor. Anything taller falls outside the provisions for foundation wall construction in the State Building Code.

Q. If I want to build a great room with 18-foot walls, do I need an engineer to design this?
A. Possibly. Tall wall design is evaluated based on wall framing type, wall height, size of openings in the wall, and exposure area of the wall. This evaluation is done on a case by case basis.

Q. When you say I need 2’8” at the corners of my house and garage, what do you mean?
A. This provision of the Building Code helps give your home more structural stability. The 2’8” shear wall is only allowed for the first story of 1- or 2-story applications. These wall sections must also comply with additional provisions in Sec. R602.10 of the 2006 I.R.C.

Q. I am having problems with my house i.e. siding, roof leaking, possible moisture and mold problems, foundation cracking, etc. I want a city inspector to come and do an inspection and tell me what is wrong.
A. The City of Hutchinson does not provide homeowners this type of service. The City performs inspections on active permits. Independent inspectors can be hired to do these types of inspections. These inspectors can be found in the telephone book under “Home Inspection Services”.

Q. I have a complaint about my builder not correcting things in my house. What should I do?
A. Builders usually have a timeline for corrections on new homes. Always make requests to the builder in writing. Contact the Department of Labor and Industry at 1-800-342-5354 if you feel your contractor has not fulfilled your contract.

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Water

Q. Is our water safe?
A. The City of Hutchinson is bound by State and Federal drinking water regulations. The Minnesota Department of Health has primacy over all federal drinking water regulations and monitoring. This means that the USEPA has given the Minnesota Department of Health the authority and enforcement responsibility to oversee the federal drinking water rules in addition to State rules. The City of Hutchinson meets all current and anticipated federal standards. The City of Hutchinson is in exceedance of the action level for copper. For more information regarding the action level refer to the City’s current Drinking Water Report or contact the Hutchinson Water department.

Q. How often is the water tested?
A. The amount of testing varies with the parameters being tested. Some are tested daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.

Q. Why do we sometimes see dirty, rusty water?
A. The reddish water comes from the iron build up inside the pipes that distribute the water. As the water remains in contact with the pipe the natural corrosion causes “rust”, which occasionally will release into the water. Hydrant flushing or increased hydraulic flow in the water system can also cause this. There is no harmful health effect from the iron in the water.

Q. What is the hardness of the City water?
A. The hardness is 8 grains / gallon.

Q. Why is my water bill so high?
A. First you must recognize that your water bill contains many fees other than your water charge. If you look carefully you’ll probably see that the water is probably the smallest part of your bill. More important is to look at the monthly usage for water. The most common causes for high water usage are leaky toilet tanks, watering, and personal water usage habits. If you feel your usage is abnormal contact the Water department at 320-234-4222.

Q. Who is responsible for repairing and replacing the property’s water service line?
A. Under City of Hutchinson policy, the property owner is responsible for the water service line from the water main in the street up to the water meter in the property. The City of Hutchinson maintains the water meter at no cost to the property.

Q. Why does the City add chlorine and fluoride?
A. Fluoride is required by the State as a deterrent to tooth decay. There is naturally occurring fluoride in the City’s water and a small amount is added to bring the fluoride level to 1.2 parts per million. Chlorine is added as a disinfectant safeguard. Should any contaminant accidentally enter the water system there is small chlorine residual to protect the water. Chlorine also prevents the water quality from degrading as it remains in the distribution system.

Q. Is there arsenic or radon in the water?
A. The levels of natural occurring arsenic and radon are well below federal standards.

Q. What are some of the water issues for the future of Hutchinson?
A. The City of Hutchinson is continually striving to meet the challenges of maintaining and replacing it infrastructure along with working to provide the highest quality water and service.

Q. Do I need a home water treatment unit in my house?
A. It depends on the reason you are purchasing the unit. If you are purchasing the unit on the assumption that you will be drinking safer water you will probably be making an unnecessary purchase. If you’re buying the unit because you think the water just tastes better, than it is a matter of personal choice. You should however realize that the units are not maintenance free and an improperly maintained treatment unit can be a potential health threat to the consumer. If you are shopping for a home treatment unit also realize the broad treatment capabilities and costs of different units. Deal with a reputable vender and look for NSF or UL certification.

Q. What’s in Hutchinson’s water?
A. There are numerous natural occurring elements in the water. Water is not simply H2O.

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Wastewater

Q. What should I do if my sewer backs up?
A. Call the City Wastewater Maintenance department (320) 234-4492 or (320) 234-4233.

Q. Are the Sanitary and Storm Sewer lines separated or combined?
A. They are separated. The sanitary sewer system generally runs to our main lift station and then to the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Q. What part of the sanitary sewer line is the city responsible for?
A. From the point where the resident’s line connects to the city’s main lines, once the main line connects to the property’s sewer line, it becomes the responsibility of the property owner.

Q. Who regulates what you discharge into the river?
A. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to regulate the manner and performance of wastewater discharges to the surface waters.

Q. What are Biosolids?
A. Biosolids are the nutrient rich organic by-product of wastewater treatment. Biosolids is a specific term to describe only those wastewater solids that meet the most stringent state and federal regulations and are, considered safe for use as a fertilizer and as a soil amendment to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth. We currently have several sites that have been approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for land application. If you are interested in becoming a certified site, call (320)-234-4233.

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