Engineering FAQs

Below are some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) presented to the engineering staff.

Traffic is speeding through my neighborhood. Will the city place stop signs at intersections to slow the traffic down?

National studies show that using stop signs for speed control can create a number of undesirable results. These include:

  • Increased speed between signs. To make up for the time that drivers feel they lost because of stopping at an unwarranted stop sign, many increase their speed mid block leading to higher speeds than before the stop signs were installed.

  • Decreased compliance. Drivers inherently drive in a manner that they feel comfortable. Drivers will not come to a complete stop if there is not a perceived safety issue at an intersection. This leads to a large number of drivers “rolling through” the intersection at various speeds.

  • Increased vehicular accidents. Because of the decreased compliance at intersections with unwarranted stop signs, studies have shown that there may be an increase in the number of accidents. In particular, rear end accidents occur when one driver chooses to comply with the stop sign, and another is used to “rolling through” it.

  • Increased vehicle/pedestrian accidents. Most pedestrians expect vehicles to stop at a stop sign. Pedestrians may choose to enter the intersection directly in front of a vehicle that may not stop.

The city uses the Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) to determine the need or appropriateness of stop signs at a particular intersection. Residents who feel that there is a need for a stop sign should call the Engineering Department. The department will review the situation, study the intersection, and based on the MMUTCD, decide whether warrants are met for the installation of stop signs.

Remember, driving is one of the most, if not the most, dangerous activity that people undertake. Driving involves rapid decision making, and distractions such as cell phones, radios, texting, lack of sleep, and the influence of drugs and alcohol diminish a human’s ability to make the correct decision and react in time. Because of this, at some time in the life of an intersection, there will be an accident. An accident alone does not warrant the installation a stop sign.

There are a lot of young children in my neighborhood. Will the city install "Children at Play" signs?

The city does not install “Children at Play” signs. It is very important that signs be used in an appropriate manner. Several studies have shown that installing a large number of warning signs in unwarranted locations will actually have the tendency to reduce the attention that drivers pay to the signs. Also, signs of this nature tend to provide a false sense of security for parents and children. A sign will not prevent an accident.

The city has installed “Playground” warning signs near some neighborhood parks where drivers may expect to see a larger number of children. However, these are only placed in areas where sight distance is obstructed, or other areas where drivers may not expect large gatherings of children.

Remember, the city has numerous parks that are designed to separate playing children from traffic. Parks and playgrounds serve a definite purpose, so do roads. Most parents and children would not expect a car to drive through the middle of a playground, and most drivers would not expect a playground in the middle of a street.

I am planning a project that will involve me digging in my yard (installing a fence, planting a tree, landscaping, building a deck). Is there anything I need to do before I start?

Before you dig for any project, you have to call Gopher State One Call at 651-454-0002. They will arrange for utility companies to mark any buried utility lines in your yard. The service is free, and it could save your life!

You should also review a copy of your survey. Most lots in town have easements around them and there are restrictions on what can be placed in the easements. If you have questions about your survey or easements, contact the Engineering Department and we will help answer your questions.

There may be other requirements for different types of projects. To learn about any additional requirements, contact Sue Miller at 651-280-6840.

I cannot find the corners of my lot. Can the city come out and survey my lot so I know where the corners are?

The city does not have a surveyor on staff, and therefore does not survey lots. Surveys should be done by a registered land surveyor. 

How will I know if you are doing a project near my home

The city’s Municipal Services department is responsible for routine maintenance work on city streets and utilities (water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer). If repairs are necessary in your neighborhood, they may be in your neighborhood at any time when weather permits. These projects are usually small and are not substantially disruptive.

Larger projects such as street reconstruction or seal coating are planned months in advance, and portions of the cost of the project are assessed to benefiting properties. If you live in an area that will be affected by an assessment project, you will be notified of a neighborhood meeting, usually before the public hearing, and you will receive notice of the public hearing for the project. Both the neighborhood meeting and the public hearing are designed to inform residents of an upcoming project, and receive input from them on the project.

Larger projects will also be listed on the Engineering Projects page.

Do I need Flood Insurance?

On December 2, 2011, new floodplain maps for Dakota County, including Farmington, became effective. For Farmington, there were few changes when compared to the old maps. An expected, yet unfortunate side-effect of the new mapping is that many mortgage lenders are contacting homeowners and informing them that based on the new maps, they are located in a floodplain and as such are required to buy flood insurance. If you receive correspondence from a lender to this effect, you are encouraged to contact City of Farmington Director of Public Works/City Engineer for more details and assistance at 651- 280-6841.

If your property was originally in a floodplain, but was removed, you should have received a packet of information from the city in the fall of 2010. Included in this packet was a copy of the Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) for your property. Many lending institutions have been telling homeowners that they need an updated LOMR or that they need to purchase flood insurance. This is not the case, if your property was removed from the floodplain by one of the listed LOMR’s, the original LOMR for your property remains in effect, and you should provide a copy of the following letter to your lending institution:

If the number on the LOMR you received from the city in 2010, matches any of the LOMR numbers listed in this letter, the LOMR for your property has been revalidated and no further action should be required. If you have any questions, contact the Director of Public Works/City Engineer at 651- 280-6841.

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