Historically, the City has addressed sidewalk maintenance and repairs in accordance with California Streets and Highways Code Section 5610 (“Section 5610”), which places the burden of sidewalk maintenance on the adjacent property owner. The code states in part that:
The owners of lots or portions of lots fronting on any portion of a public street or place when that street or place is improved or if and when the area between the property line of the adjacent property and the street line is maintained as a park or parking strip, shall maintain any sidewalk in such condition that the sidewalk will not endanger persons or property and maintain it in a condition which will not interfere with the public convenience in the use of those works or areas save and except as to those conditions created or maintained in, upon, along, or in connection with such sidewalk by any person other than the owner, under and by virtue of any permit or right granted to him by law or by the city authorities in charge thereof, and such persons shall be under a like duty in relation thereto.
In October 2017, San Rafael City Council also adopted Municipal Code Chapter 11.60, which, in accordance with California Streets and Highway Code Section 5610, confirms that the responsibility of sidewalk maintenance lies with the adjacent property owner.
In conjunction with the adoption of Municipal Code Chapter 11.60, the City Council called for the development of a pilot program which attempts to share the financial burden associated with sidewalk maintenance between the City and the property owners, and encourages repairs to get done Citywide. This is the first year of that pilot program.