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Fin Sidewalk Maintenance ProgramSAN RAFAEL Agenda Item No: 6.b THE CITY WITH A MISSION Meeting Date: February 6, 2017 SAN RAFAEL CITY COUNCIL AGENDA REPORT Department: Public Works Prepared by: Bill Guerin, City Manager Approval: Director of Public Works File No.: 06.01.215 TOPIC: SIDEWALK AND TREE MAINTENANCE WITHIN THE CITY RIGHT OF WAY SUBJECT: CONSIDER DEVELOPMENT OF A SIDEWALK AND TREE MAINTENANCE POLICY WITHIN THE CITY OF SAN RAFAEL STREET RIGHT OF WAY TO ENSURE THAT SIDEWALKS ARE FREE OF TRIPPING HAZARDS AND OTHER UNSAFE CONDITIONS RECOMMENDATION: Provide direction to staff on how to ensure that sidewalks and street trees within the City right of way are safe and maintained. BACKGROUND: San Rafael is a Tree City and has thousands of trees many of which are within the City's street right of way. San Rafael also has hundreds of miles of sidewalk providing safe passage for pedestrians negotiating city streets. Many trees have grown to the point that the roots are impacting the sidewalks and creating a tripping hazard. In other cases, sidewalks are in a state of disrepair due to age, poor construction quality, previous repairs within the sidewalks, or for other reasons. City staff conducted a survey to determine the extent of the needed maintenance and repairs across the city. Based on the survey, repairs are estimated to cost between $5 million and $10 million. The current City policy is to follow the State of California Streets and Highways Code 5610 that 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. This statute advances a policy of spreading the costs of the maintenance of City sidewalks by having each adjacent property owner be responsible for the sidewalk adjoining his or her property. However, FOR CITY CLERK ONLY File No.: 11-7 x 11-6 Council Meeting: 02/06/2017 Disposition: Direction provided by staff SAN RAFAEL CITY COUNCIL AGENDA REPORT / Page: 2 the City Council and City Staff have received numerous complaints from property owners who feel that Streets and Highways Code 5610 unfairly burdens adjacent property owners who did not plant the trees or create the sidewalks but are now expected to maintain them. Further, many believe that as a Tree City, San Rafael has some responsibility to maintain these unique assets and that everyone in the city benefits from the trees and sidewalks, not just the adjacent property owner. These owners further contend that if the responsibility to maintain is theirs, they should not be required to obtain expensive permits in order to do the required maintenance. Public Works staff was asked to explore alternatives to the current policy and provide recommendations. Staff reached out to a number of communities and identified four common approaches to sidewalk and tree maintenance. These approaches are: • Utilize the State Streets and Highways Code 5610 whereby the adjacent property owner is fully responsible for maintenance • The City takes full responsibility for sidewalk and tree maintenance within the right of way using existing resources to fund • The City takes full responsibility for sidewalk and tree maintenance by creating a neighborhood assessment district or by creating a parcel tax • The adjacent homeowner and the City share the responsibility for the maintenance of the sidewalks and trees by sharing the cost of maintenance and repairs Public Works held three public outreach sessions and created an on-line survey to gain an understanding of how residents supported these various options. The majority of those surveyed believe that the City should pay for and maintain trees and sidewalks (55 percent). 22 percent of those who responded to the survey supported a shared arrangement. 17 percent felt that an assessment district or parcel tax was the best approach. Only six percent thought that the State Code, whereby the adjacent property owner pays for all repair and maintenance, was appropriate. ANALYSIS: The use of an assessment district or parcel tax requires several steps ultimately resulting in a ballot measure before these can be implemented. There is no assurance that the voters in San Rafael would support an additional tax or assessment, however either idea can be pursued as a long term solution. If the City Council chooses to take over responsibility for sidewalk and street tree maintenance using existing resources, as much as $1 million per year or more would have to be diverted from other needed programs in order to support this program ($1 million per year for ten years, as an example). The Council can choose to maintain the existing reliance on adjacent property owners based on the State Streets and Highways Code 5610. Finally, the Council could choose to share the cost of sidewalk and tree maintenance with the adjacent property owners. This can be done through a monetary contribution to the repairs, a waiver of permit, and other, fees or both. As an example, if $250,000 were set aside from other City sources to support this program, the City could allot $500 per property and contribute towards the repair of 500 individual parcels per year. If $1000 per property were set aside, 250 parcels could be improved each year. RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends pursuing 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, up to a maximum of $250,000 per fiscal year, to repair or replace damaged sidewalks and, where required, to remove and replace, or trim the roots of, any adjacent street tree, in SAN RAFAEL CITY COUNCIL AGENDA REPORT / Page: 3 order to ensure that the sidewalk is in such condition that it will not endanger persons or property, nor interfere with the public convenience in the use of those works or areas. Further, the City will waive encroachment or other permits required to complete the required work. FISCAL IMPACT: $250,000 will need to be redirected from other street maintenance projects (account number 48001) in the General Fund and Gas Tax Fund 206 in order to accommodate this program. ACTION REQUIRED: Provide direction to staff to develop a policy regarding sidewalk and street tree repair and maintenance on sidewalks and streets within the City right of way that allows the City to share the expense of sidewalk and street tree maintenance with the adjacent property owner. RA f, z ROUTING SLIP / APPROVAL FORM INSTRUCTIONS: Use this cover sheet with each submittal of a staff report before approval by the City Council. Save staff report (including this cover sheet) along with all related attachments in the Team Drive (T:) --> CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS 4 AGENDA ITEM APPROVAL PROCESS 4 [DEPT - AGENDA TOPIC] Agenda Item # Date of Meeting: 2/6/2017 From: Bill Guerin Department: Public Works Date: 2/6/2017 Topic: SIDEWALK AND TREE MAINTENANCE WITHIN THE CITY RIGHT OF WAY Subject: CONSIDER DEVELOPMENT OF A SIDEWALK AND TREE MAINTENANCE POLICY WITHIN THE CITY OF SAN RAFAEL STREET RIGHT OF WAY TO ENSURE THAT SIDEWALKS ARE FREE OF TRIPPING HAZARDS AND OTHER UNSAFE CONDITIONS. Type: ® Resolution ❑ Ordinance ❑ Professional Services Agreement ❑ Other: APPROVALS ® Finance Director Remarks: Approved 1/31/17 -Van Bach ® City Attorney Remarks: LG -Approved 1/31/17 with elimination of resolution. ® Author, review and accept City Attorney / Finance changes Remarks: Approved 2/1/17 Bill Guerin ® City Manager Remarks: Shared Cost Sidewalk Program Program Overview The Shared Cost Sidewalk Program will re -open for applications on January 10, 2017. The Shared Cost Sidewalk Program cost per square foot charged to property owners is well below what a private contractor would charge. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities may qualify to receive a 50 percent discount. The scope of a Shared Cost Sidewalk Program project is limited to sidewalk within the public right-of- way, and may include the main walk, the sidewalk thru a driveway, the existing courtesy walk (which runs perpendicular from the main sidewalk to the curb), and existing landing steps (the small strip of concrete sometimes found adjacent to the curb). Sidewalk on private property will only be included if needed for transition purposes, otherwise it is NOT eligible for replacement under the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program. Owners of corner properties will be charged for sidewalk on both the main (address) side and the non -address side of the property. CDOT will continue to build ADA -compliant corner ramps where applicable, with the City paying the entire cost of the ramps. Replacement of sidewalk is based on engineering considerations. In order to minimize the cost to property owners and increase the number of Shared Cost Sidewalk Program participants, only the portion of sidewalk in need of replacement as determined by CDOT is eligible for the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program pricing. The property owner does have the option to replace the entire sidewalk in front of the property. However, the entire cost to remove and replace the portion of sidewalk determined by CDOT to be in good condition will be charged to the property owner. NO senior or persons with disabilities discount will be applied to this work. To clarify, the City will not pay for removal and replacement of sidewalk in good condition. Due to significant participant interest, the removal and replacement of permitted driveway aprons (the portion of driveway between the sidewalk and curb) can be added to the project. However, the entire cost to remove and replace the driveway apron will be charged to the property owner. No senior or persons with disabilities discount will apply to this work. To clarify, the City will not pay for removal and replacement of driveway aprons. For the 2017 program, applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of participants is based on availability of funds. Applications will only be accepted through the City's 311 system by calling 311 or through the City's service request website www.citvofchicaeo.or /e 311. -Make sure to specify that you want to participate in the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program. •If you currently do not have a courtesy walk or landing step and would like one installed, this should be mentioned at the time of request. Installation is subject to engineering recommendation. •If you are interested in removal and replacement of the driveway apron, this should be mentioned at the time of request. -You must give the property owner's complete name, a contact phone number, email address if available, and the property's complete address. Please note that Shared Cost Sidewalk Program applications that are missing any of this requested information may not be processed. Once the program budget amount is met, the program will close for the year. Applicants will be notified via U.S. mail indicating whether they have been included into the 2017 Shared Cost Sidewalk Program. Applicants included in the program will receive a bill in the spring indicating the property owner amount due. Payment in full must be made to the City's Department of Finance within the timeframe indicated on the bill in order for work to proceed. The Shared Cost Sidewalk Program continues to provide great value to property owners while helping improve neighborhoods. Should you have any questions, please contact CDOT at ( mail Shared Cost Sidewalk Program Frequently Asked Questions The Shared Cost Sidewalk Program is an extremely popular voluntary program in which property owners and the City of Chicago share the cost of replacing sidewalks. The Shared Cost Sidewalk Program cost per square foot charged to property owners is well below what a private contractor would charge. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities may qualify to receive a 50 percent discount. The approximate cost to a property owner of an average mid -block property will range from $600 to $1,500. Those prices are significantly below what a private contractor would charge. The City can offer that attractive price because of the volume of work performed by the City. How does the process work? 1. Applications for the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program will only be accepted through the City's 311 system by calling 311 or through the City's service request website www.citvofchicaP_o.or&311. Note the following: • Make sure to specify that you want to participate in the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program. • Specify if you (the owner) are a senior or disabled citizen. Seniors and/or disabled citizens may qualify for a 50 percent discount on the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program cost. • If you currently do not have a courtesy walk (which runs perpendicular from the main sidewalk to the curb) or landing step (the small strip of concrete sometimes found adjacent to the curb) and would like one installed, this should be mentioned at the time of request. Installation is subject to engineering recommendation. • If you are interested in removal and replacement of the driveway apron (the portion of driveway between the sidewalk and curb), this should be mentioned at the time of request. • You must give the property owner's complete name, a contact phone number, email address if available, and the property's complete address. Please note that Shared Cost Sidewalk Program applications that are missing any of this requested information may not be processed. 2. Applications will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of participants is based on availability of funds. Once capacity is reached, requests for participation in the program will no longer be accepted and property owners will have to apply to the program the following year. Applicants will be notified via U.S. mail indicating whether they have been included into the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program. Also check our website (www.citvofchicai_o.org/transoortion) for program updates. 3. CDOT will survey the area to determine the scope and cost of reconstruction. Sidewalk replacement is based on engineering considerations. CDOT may determine that some locations meet City standards and do not require reconstruction. 4. If CDOT determines that the property is eligible for the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program, CDOT will send a cost estimate for the work to the property owner in the spring. If interested, payment in full must be made to the City's Department of Finance within the timeframe indicated on the cost estimate (approximately 45 days). Payment can also be made in person at one of the Department of Finance payment locations: • 121 N LaSalle St Room 107 • 400 W. Superior St • 2550 W Addison St • 4770 S Kedzie Ave • 2006 E 95`h St Once payment is submitted, you may contact CDOT at 312-744-1746 to verify payment has been received. If you are eligible for a senior citizen or persons with disability rate that was not applied to your estimate, contact CDOT at 312-744-1746. A revised cost estimate will be issued to the property owner reflecting the discount once the required documentation has been received and verified. Payment must be submitted within the timeframe indicated on the original cost estimate. 6. Cost estimates are only valid for the timeframe indicated on the estimate (approximately 45 days). Payment in full must be made to the City's Department of Finance within this timeframe in order for work to proceed. 7. The work will begin as soon as possible. The construction season runs approximately from June to December. Who is eligible to participate? All property owners with non -vaulted sidewalks are eligible to participate. Custom sidewalks (e.g., granite, colored, custom designs, etc.), vaulted sidewalks, and private property sidewalks are not eligible to be included in the program. Who is eligible for the senior citizen or persons with disabilities discount? Seniors (age 65 or older) or disabled owner -occupants of non-commercial properties of four units or less. What information is required to receive the senior citizen or persons with disabilities rate? Seniors age 65 or older must provide proof of age, ownership, and occupancy: • Ownership: tax bill (2nd installment) or title deed • Age: birth certificate or driver's license or 2nd installment tax bill showing senior exemption • Occupancy: voter's card or utility bill Persons with disabilities must provide proof of ownership, occupancy, and disability: • Ownership: tax bill (2nd installment) or title deed • Occupancy: voter's card or utility bill • Disability: Must provide one of the following: o Disability benefits received from Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, Civil Service, or Railroad Retirement o Class 2 disability card from the Illinois Secretary of State's Office Documentation verifying the senior citizen or persons with disabilities rate should be submitted by one of the following options: • Fax to (312) 744-6438, ATTN: Shared Cost Sidewalk Program • Email to: cdotsharedcost@cityofchicago.org Pa a Mail to: Shared Cost Sidewalk Program Chicago Department of Transportation For any assistance with or questions regarding the senior citizen or persons with disabilities rate, please contact CDOT at 312-744-1746 or email us at cdotsharedcost@cityofchicago.org. What does the scope of work include? The scope of a Shared Cost Sidewalk Program project is limited to sidewalk within the public right-of- way and may include replacing the main sidewalk in front of the property, the sidewalk thru a driveway, the existing courtesy walk (the smaller walkway that runs perpendicular to the main walk, from the main walk to the curb) and existing landing steps (the small strip of concrete sometimes found adjacent to the curb). Sidewalk on private property will only be included if needed for transition purposes; otherwise it is NOT eligible for replacement under the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program. Owners of corner properties will be charged for sidewalk on both the main (address) side and non -address side of the property. Replacement is based on engineering considerations. In order to minimize the cost to property owners and increase the number of Shared Cost Sidewalk Program Participants, only the portion of sidewalk in need of replacement as determined by CDOT is eligible for the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program pricing. The property owner does have the option to replace the entire sidewalk in front of the property. However, the entire cost to remove and replace the portion of sidewalk determined by CDOT to be in good condition will be charged to the property owner. NO senior or persons with disabilities discount will apply to this work. To clarify, the City will not pay for removal and replacement of sidewalk in good condition. Will the driveway apron be replaced? If your driveway crosses the sidewalk, the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program scope of work may include the sidewalk through the driveway. Abandoned driveway aprons no longer in use will be removed and replaced with topsoil. Grass seed or sod will not be placed on these areas. Removing abandoned driveway aprons and replacing with topsoil will be charged to you at the standard Shared Cost Sidewalk Program rate. Due to significant participant interest, the removal and replacement of permitted driveway aprons (the portion of driveway between the sidewalk and curb) can be added to the project. However, the entire cost to remove and replace the driveway apron will be charged to the property owner. No senior or persons with disabilities discount will apply to this work. To clarify, the City will not pay for removal and replacement of driveway aprons. Will the area receive grass seed or sod? No. Crews will not seed or sod the area around the main walk, courtesy walk and landing step if the soil is disrupted during construction. Will pavers or other structures in the parkway be reset when work is completed? Brick pavers, fencing, and planters or any other obstructions in the parkway may be removed during construction and will be loosely reset when construction is completed. Reinstallation of removed elements is the property owner's responsibility. What if tree roots have damaged the existing courtesy walk or landing step? If necessary the existing courtesy walk or landing step will be removed and replaced further away from the tree to help avoid future damage. If it is determined the courtesy walk or landing step cannot be either replaced in the current location or relocated, it will be replaced with topsoil. Grass seed or sod will not be placed on these areas. Removing courtesy walks or landing steps and replacing with topsoil will be charged to you at the standard Shared Cost Sidewalk Program rate. What if there is a sprinkler system at the property? The City is NOT responsible for sprinkler systems in the parkway or adjacent to the sidewalk. Property owners are advised to cut and cap the lines and remove any sprinkler heads that may be damaged during the Shared Cost Sidewalk Program work. Property owners should notify the city of an existing sprinkler system in order to minimize any potential damage. Is there any warranty for the work? Yes. Sidewalk construction has a warranty of one year from the date of construction, covering significant deterioration of the sidewalk. (Note: Some small cracks, especially in sidewalk joints, are common. Since they are not caused by construction, they are not covered by the warranty). Is this bill final? This bill is based on measurements and is considered final. If it is later determined that more work is needed you will NOT be billed for that additional work. Furthermore, if the amount of work is reduced for any reason, your money will be refunded if the difference is $100 or greater. Please contact our office at 312-744-1746 before sending your payment if you would like to request any changes to the scope of work represented on this bill. Ifyou have any additional questions, please contact CDOT at 312-744-1746 or email us at cdotsliaredcost@cityofchicago.org. Service Facts Department Main Office Department: Service Streets and Sanitation Streets and Sanitation (DSS = Forestry Tree Trimming (DSS) People We Serve: The Bureau of Forestry is responsible for the management of all shade and omamerrtal O Muse Map Satellite Conte Residents trees growing along city streets and boulevards and which constitute approximately 520,000 Home Owners trees of the estimated 4.1 million trees growing in the City of Chicago. On average the RIVER NOF "+ Programs 8lnitietives: Bureau trims about 100,000 public trees annually. Na Environment and Sustainability The municipal trimming operations performed by the Bureau of Forestry are scheduled theMARTQ O DuSable utilizing several approaches: Request Trimming, Crises Trimming and Programmed Ilac Palace The ©The Chicago City Services Trimming. All residents are encouraged to call the 311 City Services System or click on the button below to report any tree maintenance needs such as the Millertn••,... removal of storm or Part ' construction related damaged limbs, low hanging branches, orto clear obscured streetlights I Want To... and stop signs. ® Chicago Church" + Apply For Currently, y, Request Trimming constitutes over 314 of all the tree trammed annually and is ® ur scheduled as a result of calls placed to the 311 City Service System. These calls are m Check Status Of serviced on a first come first served basis. Crisis trimming results from calls that are _ Hilton Chicago 1Z reporting hazardous conditions such as broken and hanging branches to the city's 311 (_., I— FindlGet system. These calls are responded to on an emergency basis. Programmed Trimming is P'ap data -2017 Google Terms of Use Pay For)Buy the servicing of all trees requiring attention within a given area such as a city block or a 1/4 • mile grid. As time allows the Bureauworks with elected officials as well as community Register groups to designate the assigned area. ReportJF7e Request Sign up forNolunteer KRYSTYNA BARRON San Rafael, CA 94901 February 3, 2017 VIA ReL-ular US Mail and E -Mail City of San Rafael 1400 Fifth Avenue San Rafael, CA. 94915 RE: Sidewalk and Maintenance Within City Right of Way Dear City Council Members, I am a property owner of 27 year, a senior, a prior board member of the Gerstle Park Neighborhood Association and an inductee to the prestigious Marin's Women's Hall of Fame. I am also a member of the Gerstle Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA) and Gerstle Park Sidewalk Solutions (GPSS). I disagree with the positions taken by the GPNA on this issue. The Public Works Department has submitted an Agenda Report (hereinafter "Report"), titled "Sidewalk And Tree Maintenance Within The City Right of Way" for the Council's meeting scheduled for February 6, 2017. The "Report" recommends pursuing a shared sidewalk and tree maintenance program with very limited participation of the City. However, the "Report" fails to inform the City Council that (1) the majority of sidewalk repairs needed are due to tree roots of City planted and/or maintained trees or lack thereof; (2) that the City has the responsibility for these repairs under the current City policy, which follows state law, due to the exemption/exception in that law that exempts homeowners who did not cause the unsafe sidewalk conditions; (3) that the City historically made these repairs but then failed to fulfill their responsibility which caused the conditions to become worse; and (4) of the extremely high costs involved to the property owner especially if there is a huge city tree involved, such as a liquidamber or sycamore. The Public Works recommendation attempts to ignore and get around the exception in the law under which the City is responsible for the repairs of the unsafe sidewalk conditions throughout the city and pass this huge burden onto homeowners. One needs only review the history of the law included hereinafter, page 4, to easily find that the City bears the costs when a City tree causes the damage. This letter is (A) to strongly object to this recommendation for the reasons contained herein; (B) provide relevant information that was not contained in the "Report" which Council should consider; and (C) suggests other approaches. A. OBJECTIONS The recommendation does not differentiate between property owner's trees and city planted or maintained trees. It also does not take into account that, for years, the City failed to properly maintain its trees and the sidewalks which were damaged by its trees , thus creating the conditions that Public Works recommends the homeowners pay for. The recommendation fails to mention what party is responsible under conditions other than tree root damage. The recommendation is unfair and will be a great financial burden to homeowners, especially gur homeowners 60 years of age and over and those who have owned property in the city for the last 25 years. The recommendation has gone unreasonably beyond the issue of sidewalk repairs and includes removal and replacement of TREES, City trees in most cases. This places an extreme financial burden on homeowners where the City trees have been allowed to grow to enormous heights and with root systems multiple times the size of the tree's canopy. The recommendation will significantly injure and burden the homeowners for conditions created by the City, especially our elderly and low income homeowners. Age and income must be considered in any recommended program. B. RELEVANT BACKGROUND • For decades the City of San Rafael engaged in the consistent practice of removing problematic trees and maintaining/repairing/replacing the sidewalks, parkways and curbs which became unsafe due to tree roots. • Homeowners relied on the City's actions as mentioned and paid taxes for these services. • This consistent practice conformed with The Streets and Highways Section 5610 -- 5618 with respect to City planted trees. As to any other tree damage repaired by the City, if any, the City took it upon itself to voluntarily supercede the state Code and assume responsibility. • Contrary to remarks in the "Report", the Streets and Highways Section Code 5610 does not burden the homeowner with repairs needed due to damages created by City trees. There is an exception that applies to many homeowners which the City has unreasonably refused to honor. • The consistent City practice of maintenance and repairs was confirmed by longtime San Rafael public works staff, and evidenced by City funds budgeted for sidewalk repairs and by many homeowners' personal experiences and testimony. • The City neglected its responsibility and/or its assumed responsibility to make repairs.... thus allowing the unsafe conditions to exist, become worse and more expensive to repair. • The Marin IJ reported that the City stated that it didn't do sidewalk repairs for years due to recession related lack of funds. However, we have not been in recession for a number of years and it follows that the City's statement is an admission of its failure to make repairs and that it allowed the unsafe conditions to exist and get worse. C. SUGGESTED APPROACHES In light of the fact that the majority of residents surveyed choose that the City should pay for and maintain trees and sidewalks, it is suggested that the Council consider a plan where the City pays the entire cost to repair sidewalks under anv of the following conditions: a. Where the damage is caused by parkway trees and/or damage caused by trees known as or likely to be City trees or City substitute trees, such as but not limited to Sycamores and Liquidambers. b. Where property owners have claimed an exemption in Code Section §5610. c. Where the damage is due to grade subsidence. d. Where the damage is due to City utility cuts. e. Sidewalk fronting City -owned property. f. Sidewalk at street intersection (no abutting property). g. Where the damage is caused due to heat expansion and/or drought contraction. h. Where the homeowners age 60 and above whose Adjusted Gross Income is less than $40,000.00/year and who pay real estate taxes of more than $6,000./year. In the alternative, the Council could first instruct the City to make all repairs to sidewalks damaged by the parkway tree before making homeowners responsible or Council can choose to maintain the existing reliance on adjacent property owners based on the State Streets and Highways Code 5610 and honor the exception where the homeowner is not responsible for damages caused by City planted or City maintained trees or other third parties. In any program the City should assume that a tree in question is a City planted tree if it is in the parkway; City records no longer exist or can't be found; and the tree is of a type planted by the City such as a Liquidamber. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Over the years, I personally experienced that the City took control and responsibility for the maintenance of City trees and sidewalks damaged by these trees. The City removed a tree in front of my property which had caused unsafe conditions and made the repairs to: the sidewalk; my driveway; the apron; and made similar repairs to the sidewalks that front the Landecker property. In my case it was a City tree. The City also has maintained the tree in front of my home. I am a senior with an income under $28,000, annual real estate taxes of over $8,000, and insurance over $3,000 not to mention the high costs of utilities and there is a huge City liquidamber tree in front of my home that has created unsafe conditions. In 2015, Public Works staff said they would remove this problem tree and fix part of the parkway but never came. However, they did take down several trees in front of the Landecker home that year and from a homeowner across the street from Landecker. I cannot afford to pay to remove this huge tree and fix the damage caused by it over the years that the City failed to do and it is unfair and discrimination for the City to take down and pay for problematic trees for some homeowners and not others. HISTORIC NOTES REGARDING SIDEWALK MAINTENANCE IN CALIFORNIA • In a speech given on January, 8, 1935, Ca. Governor Merriam said in pertinent part "government itself cannot indefinitely assume responsibility for meeting all the demands of this depression and emergency". Emphasis added. • Shortly after that speech, the state law was made that requires property owners to maintain the sidewalks fronting their property in a safe condition except for adverse conditions created or maintained by anv person other than the pronertv owner. This law is found in CA. Streets and Highways Code section §5610. • The state law came into existence 81 years ago, during a depression. Prior to the enactment of this law, government was responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in a safe condition. We are not currently in a depression and have not been for the greatest part of the last eighty (80) years during which (1) San Rafael property owners paid high real estate taxes and (2) the City repaired sidewalks and unsafe conditions in the public right of way areas that were adjacent homeowners' properties. CODE §5610 INTERPERTATION: The most basic principle of statutory interpretation is that the intent of the legislature governs if that intent can be ascertained. If challenged, a court must give effect to the intention of the legislature expressed rather than determine what the law should or should not be. Code Section §5610 is unambiguous and plainly makes an exception to the maintenance requirement for adverse conditions created or maintained by any person other than the property owner." I ask that you give this letter serious consideration. I sincerely believe a program that places any financial burden of repairing the sidewalks (that the City admittedly neglected to repair) and that requires homeowners to remove and replace trees or root blocking them ...would be unfair, a travesty and a great burden to our homeowners and many of our elderly homeowners. Sincerely, Krystyna Barron 4 Resident Feedback RE: Sidewalk Maintenance Program Phillip Shamlian Sidewalk Repair Hello, We often take walks around our neighborhood down Bamboo Terrace and up Montecillo Road. We have a handicapped daughter who utilizes a wheelchair. These walks occur at least once a day, sometimes twice a day. Particularly along Montecillo Road, there are portions of the sidewalk that have been so impacted by over grown tree roots that it is impossible for our daughter to navigate and we end up having to go into the street. One of the worst examples exists in front of 650 Montecillo where the sidewalk is raised into a mountain of at least one foot. Is this a city problem or a property owner problem? What can be done to fix the sidewalks so that they are safe`? Thank you for your attention to this matter. Christopher Thomas Shared Sidewalk This proposal may be appropriate for some but unacceptable to me. Our house almost 40 years ago was planted with trees from the City/County. You insisted they be planted, against our wishes and you promised to maintain them. Now they have not only destroyed the sidewalk but my driveway and parts of my property, and you want ME to pay for the damages caused by Your lack of understanding about which trees to plant or not? Nonsense. Take responsability and own up to the fact you have to fix this With the tax Money already paid to you for the last 40+ years and not try to pass this off to the homeowners who had no say before, and who insisted you not plant these trees where they will eventually create the problems we are facing today. Kristin Stoerker Re: Meeting is on Monday (2/6),7 p.m. at City Hall. I do not agree with this plan. As a home owner who did not plant thetrees along the city sidewalk I near my home, I feel it is the City's responsibility to maintain not only the growth of the trees but also the removal and repair of any damaged caused by them. Joanne Gordon Sidewalk Hazzard I've been asking the city for the past several years to either 1) paint about S' of the curb between my home at 141 & 139 Nantucket Cove (cross street Catalina, Sp. Pt.) or 2) make a cut in the curb at the end of my driveway so the entry/exit to my drive follows the actual line of the driveway, extending to the street. There's room for either to be done with room for a car to park in that space. My problem is mainly in backing out of my driveway if there's a car parked in that area which comes right to the edge of my driveway or, frequently, extending over it. If there's a car parked in the driveway as there often is, I have to exit very slowly to get past it, & then have to drive over the curb to get to the street (not that great for my tires). I was told by the city that this problem is mine to fix. They recommended a contractor who came to give an estimate which was $2600! This didn't include the permit that the city requires. He agreed that this should have been done when it was built. This makes me feel discriminated against due to the fact that when I've checked quite a few driveways in Sp. Pt., their exit line always follows straight to the street. I'm not able to pay that amount, I think it should be taken care of by the city that I pay taxes to. I've attached a picture that shows a blue line that extends straight to the street. I appreciate your consideration of this request, hoping that the city will be kind enough to take care of this problem for me. Sincerely, Joanne Gordon Resident since 1991. John Banks Emergency Sidewalk & bike path repairs needed I am complaining the city of San Rafael needs to make emergency repairs on this bike path & sidewalk. Because its dangerous for those in wheelchairs. Location: Anderson Drive at Fransisco BLVD West South West Corner of The Intersection. Photo I nearly went flying out of my wheelchair hitting my head on the pavement when my front small tiny wheels on my wheelchair hit this thing on the sidewalk bike path & messing up & damaging my wheelchair front wheels. U Needs to be fixed be for city of San Rafael ends up being charged to pay for my ambulance ride & wheelchair damages & medical exspences of my injuries & hospital exspences over this thing L- in the bike path & sidewalk? There is another thin- like this going east on the sidewalk & bike path 417 feet towards the bile path tunnel I travel this way almost every day to St. Vincent Depaul Free Dinning room & live on the streets near Larkspur Ferry Terminal & stay with friends in the city & ride the golden gate ferry back & forth. I have no insurance & no Government funds. I panhandle for needed cash for Emergencies & some times My friends give me a little cash to pay for my ferry rides & food. How soon can this be fixed in a emergency? Chris Johnson Do NOT make homeowners pay individually for sidewalk/tree removal i cannot come to Monday's meeting. But PLEASE DO NOT make individual homeowners pay to I'ix the sidewalks and remove the trees that damaged them. $ to pay should come from everyone's taxes. I personally have no sidewalk/tree affected but I support making part of MY taxes pay for these repairs/removals. You would create a huge hardship on individuals (even with your paltry $ I K matching funds) unless you make payment for it come from everyone's taxes. We ALL enjoy the trees and sidewalks. Paula Freedman Greetings, I am unable to attend this evening's City Council meeting at which new plans will be discussed regarding homeowner/city responsibility for tree and sidewalk maintenance. However, I want to express my concern about this new measure. I live on Irwin Street in a house I purchased about 5 years ago. The mulberry tree planted curbside in front of my home was, I've been told, part of the original planting done when the Bret Harte neighborhood was developed (1948). This tree is now both aged, diseased and in fragile condition. Each year 1 have my own arborist monitor the tree's health and trim any branches leaning heavily on the electric and cable wires that extend from the telephone pole across the street and attach to my house. However, I feel shouldering complete financial burden for this tree and any sidewalk repairs necessitated by it would be totally unfair to me. After all, I am not free to remove the tree, plant a new one or repair the sidewalk without first gaining permission from the City. Since the City controls what is done and how, then clearly ownership and responsibility for the tree and sidewalk maintenance belongs TO THE CITY, not to me. I already pay nearly $7500 in property taxes. Surely adding a further financial burden for something so clearly related to City responsibility would be grossly unfair. I believe maintenance of the tree and any sidewalk repairs related to it should remain the financial responsibility of the City. Thank you very much for your time and attention. Elizabeth Ridley Sidewalk and Tree Maintenance within the City Right -of -Way Dear Council Members, I support the City and the adjacent property owner sharing responsibility for the maintenance and repair of street trees and City sidewalks. I am concerned, however, that the Staff Report does not provide background information on the costs associated with this maintenance and repair, or provide information regarding how the maximum City contribution of $1000.00 per property was determined. I hope that the City Council will direct staff to provide additional background information to ensure that this is sufficient funding and that homeowners will not he unfairly burdened in making these repairs. Thank you for your dedication to the City of San Rafael. Laurene Schlosser City Sidewalks & Tree maintenance I cannot come to Monday's meeting. But PLEASE DO NOT make individual homeowners pay to fix the sidewalks and remove the trees that damaged them. The money to pay for these repairs & upkeep should come from everyone's taxes. I personally have no sidewalk/tree affected but I support making part of MY taxes pay for these repairs/removals. You would create a huge hardship on individuals (even with your paltry $1. K matching funds) unless you make payment for it come from everyone's taxes. We ALL enjoy the trees and sidewalks. Our large leafy trees add so much beauty to our streets. Judy Conrad sidewalks/trees I have lived on this block for over 73 years. Over the years the city planted tree in our front yard has ruined the finish on our cars and left a mess every year. When asked to remove the tree we were told that the tree cannot be removed unless it has become a danger to our home or property. These trees are old. and cost the city to maintain them and keep branches off the wires. Each year there are fewer trees standing as one by one they fall and must be taken out. They have become a danger. How can the city refuse to let homeowners remove them and at the same time decide to charge property owners $1,000. It's time the City take responsibility and protect the homeowners by removing old trees and repairing dangerous sidewalks. Denise Freinkel Trees The liquid amber trees are not our friends. I have four stiches on my chin to prove. The fallen fruit force people to walk, jog in the street. Christopher Quiroga Sidewalk repair in front of my house and overhanging tree limbs Hello, My sidewalk in front of my home on 1135 Mission Ave is uplifted, loose, and very dangerous. As well as the water meter cover is in pieces. I would appreciate this gets repaired soon as its been a hazard and dangerous for pedestrians, and my mom and dad who are in their 70's who have already encountered a fall because of this. The last thing I want is someone getting hurt. (The tree is on the city line not my property line)As well as having some branches trimmed back as they are hanging over my roof and power lines attached to my house. The limbs are scratching sections of my roof off and damaging it. Especially with these storms that we've been having, I would appreciate if someone could come out and take care of this matter soon please. Thank you. Sarah Evers Hoffman Sidewalks and Street Trees A few years ago I moved to a house on Forbes Ave and was told by the sellers realtor that the city maintained the sidewalks, which was not true. The sidewalk in front of our home was a trip hazards and many people, young and old, walk in this neighborhood. We choose to be responsible and fix the sidewalk. I jokingly say that was my vacation that year, but it was. I made several calls to the city engineer and public works, who did not give us the same information, and after it couple visits for permits I thought I was ready to get bids. Then I was told by one department I had to replace the tree that had lifted the sidewalk with a city approved tree and another department told me the hole for the tree had to be 4'x 4'. Humnun how wide would the sidewalk be after that and why did I want another tree that might cause me to need to replace the sidewalk again. We finally agreed to plant trees in our yard to replace the one we were removing. One thousand dollars will not replace half a sidewalk if the work is done by a reputable, licensed contractor. I got two bids for the sidewalk, on the Forbes side only as we are on a corner, and two bids to have the tree removed and the stump ground so they could pour concrete over the spot. When the engineer came out she decided that I also needed to have part of the curb replaced too. The total cost was just shy of $10,000. That does not include my time in phone calls, visits to the department offices, meeting onsite with the engineer, meetings with the contractor, and meetings with the arborist. The last detail was trying to get the city out to repaint the curb in front of the fire hydrant red. After months of trying to gel the city to do this small part of their job I did it myself. Also the city has my email address and I never got a request for comments. I get the enews which is how I know about the meeting on Monday BUT I have never seen sidewalks on the agenda before now. So I will say again that one thousand dollars will make a very small dent in a sidewalk. I do have a su-gestion that would help. In Berkeley the city negotiated with a few commercial concrete companies to give homeowners a more reasonable rate and they mailed all the homeowners a letter explaining the opportunity. The city created the opportunity to improve the sidewalks and the homeowners got the opportunity to make the front of their home safer for them and their neighbors.