As in many other cities and towns, the Town of Mountain View Municipal Code requires that adjacent property owners keep their sidewalks in good repair and safe for public travel. This means keeping the sidewalk clear of overgrown plants, snow and ice, as well as making repairs to the sidewalks when damaged.
Historically in Mountain View, the code regarding sidewalk repair has been enforced on a complaint basis – meaning the property owners have been cited by the town and required to complete repairs only upon the town receiving a complaint about their particular section of sidewalk.
Recently, Town Council has hired a Code Enforcement officer and has decided to make sidewalk repairs a code enforcement priority. Therefore, community members will be hearing more about this issue in the weeks and months to come as council works to make decisions about how best to go about the process.
During the June council meeting, the agenda included my proposal to allocate $30,000 from the Capital Improvement Budget in 2022 for a program to assist property owners with the most severely damaged sidewalks. The town would manage getting bids and scheduling the work, although the property owners would still share the financial burden. If they do not meet the income requirements to receive a grant to help with this financial burden, the property owners will be billed by the town on their regular utility bill.
The primary goal of the program is to facilitate property owner’s responsibility to repair these specific severely damaged sidewalks, so they are safe and easily utilized by all. It will not immediately solve every problem related to sidewalks in town, but it will be a start that would prioritize the worst sidewalks in a cost-effective and expedient way.
If the grant program is approved by council, property owners could qualify for $3,000 or 50 percent of the cost of their repairs (whichever is more) when the repairs require concrete removal and a new slab poured. If the repairs only require grinding and leveling, the property owners could qualify for $1,000 or 50 percent of the cost of their repairs (whichever is more). Those who do not meet the income requirements for the grant could still participate in the town contract to repair groups of sidewalks at the same time, thereby saving money on permit and inspection fees which would be waived. Having these repairs done by the town would minimize disruption and ensure the highest quality results, both of which I believe are very important goals.
If you are a property owner and believe your sidewalk may fall into the category of “severely damaged,” please watch for communication from the town in your USPS mail, after the council has made decisions about the best way to proceed.
Regardless of whether or not council approves this exact program I’ve proposed, there is certain to be action taken on sidewalk repairs soon, because all of the elected officials at the table agree it is a priority. The only requirement now is to agree on the details and then roll the program out to the community.
Contact Town of Mountain View Mayor Emilie Mitcham at EMitcham@tomv.org.