Sidewalk repair notices not a cause for panic

Sidewalk repair notices not a cause for panic

Since fall 2018, I have been hearing from Concord residents concerned about sidewalk repair notices from the city.

I want to acknowledge that the tone of the notices was alarming, but that was not the intention.

Per the California Streets and Highways Code (Sections 5610-5618) and the Concord Municipal Code (Sections 12.25.030-12.25.040), property owners are responsible and liable for any damaged sidewalk, curb or gutter areas adjacent to their homes or businesses. The city sent the notices as a courtesy to simply inform property owners that they are liable for any damage or injury resulting from their sidewalk’s condition, and to share information about the city’s Sidewalk Repair Program.

Concord’s Public Works Department has specific criteria it follows when inspecting sidewalks. Inspectors look for cracked, uneven surfaces, excessive deterioration, excessive slopes, and horizontal or vertical offsets that can cause tripping hazards. Once inspections are complete, the city notifies property owners of any sidewalk in need of repair.

The Public Works staff conducts sidewalk inspections in each of five zones, once every five years, and sends out notices accordingly. The city does not follow up beyond the courtesy notices.

The Concord City Council adopted the Sidewalk Repair Program to simplify the repair process and reduce costs for property owners. Property owners who voluntarily participate in this program should benefit from economy-of-scale pricing and avoid spending a lot of time and effort selecting a licensed contractor and scheduling inspections. The city also waives permit and inspection fees.

Concord property owners can contact Public Works at 925-671-3448 to participate in the program.
Here is how the Sidewalk Repair Program works, from start to finish:

Step 1: The city becomes aware of sidewalk defects through routine inspections or community complaints.

Step 2: In cases where extreme hazards exist, the city provides a temporary, courtesy patch to smooth out the sidewalk until the property owner makes a permanent repair.

Note: Any temporary repairs the city installed or performed are as a courtesy only and shall not void, supersede or replace any duties of an adjacent property owner to implement permanent repairs to the sidewalk in accordance with the city’s Sidewalk Ordinance.

Step 3: The city notifies the property owner about the need to make repairs and gives the owner the option of using the Sidewalk Repair Program.

Step 4: If the resident agrees to use the program, the city calculates the cost of repair work, and the property owner pays the city directly.

Step 5: The city schedules the repair work with the contractor and manages it to completion.

Property owners are not required to use the city’s Sidewalk Repair Program and may instead hire a contractor of their choosing to complete repairs. In this case, they must obtain an encroachment permit before completing any work. Permit fees will apply, including the cost of city-required inspections.

I share this information to help reassure my fellow Concordians that if you receive a “Courtesy Notice of Need to Repair Sidewalk Pursuant to Sidewalk Inspection and Repair Program” in the mail, it is simply that – a courtesy notification that the city is required to send to property owners whose sidewalks have been inspected and are in need of repair.

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