Sidewalk Repair & Maintenance

Who is responsible for sidewalk repair and maintenance in San Rafael?

Per City of San Rafael Municipal Code Section 11.60, property owners in San Rafael are responsible for maintenance and repair of public sidewalks adjacent to their property.

The City ordinance was adopted in October 2017, in accordance with California Streets and Highways Code Section 5610, which places the burden of sidewalk maintenance on the adjacent property owner.

In conjunction with the adoption of Municipal Code Section 11.60, the City Council called for the development of a Sidewalk Repair Program which shares the financial burden associated with sidewalk maintenance between the City and the property owners. The first year of the program (described in detail below) will begin in early spring Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Sidewalk Repair Program Update: January 2018

The Sidewalk Repair Program has not begun. Applications for the FY 2017-18 Sidewalk Repair Program will be open March 15, 2018.

Under the new program approved in October 2017, the City will reimburse property owners approved for the program for 50% of the cost of their sidewalk replacement (up to $1,000 maximum reimbursement), and 100% of the cost of curb and gutter replacement (up to $4,000 maximum reimbursement). Additionally, tree work including removal will be fully reimbursed by the City up to a maximum amount of $2,700 depending on tree size. It is important to note that driveway aprons will not be eligible for reimbursement in the program.

Property owners who perform repairs prior to the program will not receive retroactive payments for any sidewalk work completed. Property owners seeking funds from the program must apply and be accepted to the program prior to commencing work.

City Staff are actively working on finalizing the most important part of the FY 2017-18 Sidewalk Repair Program: the pricing for sidewalk repair and replacement work performed by contractors. On Friday, January 5th the City sent out the Request for Proposals (RFP) for sidewalk repair work to seven qualified contractors. The RFP was unique from other Request for Proposals sent out by the City for construction projects, and took additional time for staff to flush out with potential contractors. Per the setup of the sidewalk maintenance program, the contract for the sidewalk work will be between the property owner and the contractor, and the City will be reimbursing partial costs. Traditionally, RFP’s sent out by the City are for projects for which the City will enter into an agreement with the contractor.

The RFP requested the following:

  1. Square footage pricing for sidewalk replacement (prevailing wages)
  2. Square footage pricing for sidewalk replacement (non-prevailing wages)
  3. Linear footage pricing for curb and gutter replacement (prevailing wages)
  4. Linear footage pricing for curb and gutter replacement (non-prevailing wages)

A secured price for two years for both prevailing and non-prevailing wage rates has been requested to assist property owners seeking to do repairs. All property owners who apply and are accepted into the program—and therefore will be received partial City reimbursement—must use the prevailing wage costs provided. Per state law, prevailing wage requirements apply any time public funds are utilized towards construction. Property owners who would like to replace their sidewalk but not receive partial City reimbursement in the program (either because there it is not cost effective to do so or they prefer to expedite the repairs), may utilize the lower, non-prevailing wage rate costs.

The proposals from contractors are due to Public Works on January 25th. The pricing and information about the program will be updated on this page by mid-February. We anticipate that the application for the FY 2017-18 Sidewalk Repair Program will be open March 15, to allow all property owners several weeks to review the information before the application process begins. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we get through the first year of this new program.

More questions, or want to be notified when the application for the program will be open?

Visit our Contact Public Works page and input your information, and we will contact you.

October 2, 2017 City Council Meeting

On Monday, October 2, 2017, the City Council received a follow-up to the June 19th meeting from Public Works. City Council was presented with two key items on Monday night:

  1. Consideration of adoption of an ordinance clarifying (a) responsibility to maintain and repair sidewalks lies with adjacent property owner and (b) property owner may be held liable for failure to maintain.
  2. Detailed outline of a draft Sidewalk Repair Cost-Sharing Program including reimbursement amounts to property owners.

For the Ordinance, City staff spent considerable time reviewing how other jurisdictions have handled sidewalk repair and liability. San Rafael is in the minority of jurisdiction in that it does not have a municipal ordinance that states that property owners are responsible for the sidewalks adjacent to their property, and instead defers to the State Streets and Highway Code 5610. Staff recommended City Council move forward in adopting an ordinance, but also share the financial burden with property owners by developing a cost-sharing program.

The cost-sharing program presented is for necessary sidewalk repairs only, and is reimbursement based. For property owners accepted into the program , the City will split sidewalk repair and replacement work with property owners 50-50 up to $1,000 and will fully reimburse property owners for tree and curb and gutter work (up to maximum amounts indicated in program documents). In addition, there will be no fee associated with encroachment permits for sidewalk repairs. The City has also committed to managing a $50,000/year annual contract for Citywide sidewalk “shaving” for displacements <2″.

The staff report, proposed ordinance, and draft cost-sharing policy can be read in full online.  You may also view a recording of the meeting online and the PowerPoint presentation given by Public Works.

City Council passed the Ordinance to print and adopted the Resolution directing the City Manager to finalize and approve the cost-sharing program. The second and final reading of the ordinance will be October 16, 2017. Final details on the cost sharing program will be publish on the City website no later than December 15, 2017.

June 19, 2017 City Council Meeting

On Monday, June 19, 2017, the City Council accepted a report and provided direction to staff about a proposed plan for ensuring sidewalks in San Rafael are well-maintained. We’ve researched how other communities have addressed sidewalk repair and presented recommendations on next steps: including the the potential adoption of an ordinance and a repair cost-sharing program. After input from City Council and the community on the proposal, staff will return in July with a final plan. If you were unable to attend, check out the meeting online and view the presentation.

If you were unable to attend, check out the meeting online and view the presentation.

February 6, 2017 City Council Meeting

On Monday, February 6, 2017, the City Council considered developing a shared sidewalk and tree maintenance program whereby the City matches the funding provided by the adjacent property owner up to a maximum of $1000 per property per year, with an annual budget of $250,000. If you were unable to attend, check out the meeting online and view the presentation.

October 2016 Community Meetings

In October 2016 we sought input toward a solution to improve sidewalks. We held 3 community meetings to hear your thoughts on a potential Sidewalk Repair Program and surveyed residents for their opinions on potential funding sources. The survey is now closed, staff is reviewing the survey results so that a proposal may be drafted and presented to the City Council. If you were unable to attend the community meetings, you can still view the presentation from staff. 

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