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San Jose Sidewalk Repair Notice

EARTHTEKMay 1, 2023

Have you ever received a repair notice from the city regarding your property's sidewalk? It can be pretty alarming to receive such a notice, especially if you were unaware of any issues with your sidewalk. The city of San Jose takes pedestrian safety seriously and has inspectors who inspect sidewalks regularly to ensure they are safe for the public. If they deem a sidewalk unsafe, the property owner is required to fix or replace it. In this blog post, we'll discuss what you need to know if you receive a repair notice from San Jose's Tress & Sidewalk office and how to handle the situation. Whether you're a homeowner or a business owner, it's essential to understand your responsibilities and obligations to maintain safe sidewalks in your community. So let's dive in and learn more about what to do when you receive a repair notice from the city.

Photo of San Jose Office of Trees & Sidewalks - Repair Notice and Permit.

Brief History Of Sidewalks

Before we dive into the repair notice, here is a brief history of sidewalks. Sidewalks date back to ancient Greece and Rome disappeared during the Middle Ages and reappeared in the seventeenth century. By the nineteenth century, sidewalks became a crucial aspect of urban infrastructure and were used for commerce, social interaction, and civic engagement. However, standardization led to a contraction of their use, and many cities-imposed regulations on their use. In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on sidewalks as public spaces and their importance in combating obesity, diabetes, and other diseases, as well as reducing congestion and conserving energy.

Why did I receive a Repair Notice?

The Tress & Sidewalks Office inspects sidewalks, parking strips, curbing and vegetation in parking strips. The office has a team of inspectors who inspect sidewalks to ensure they are safe and meet current building codes. If your sidewalk does not meet the current code or is deemed unsafe, the office will issue you a “Repair Notice.”

Why was the inspector on my street?

Inspectors are out daily inspecting sidewalks and typically walk the entire block, ensuring the sidewalks are safe. Additionally, citizens can request the city to inspect a sidewalk if they feel unsafe.

Am I responsible for the repairs?

The property owner whose sidewalk connects to their property is responsible for maintaining and repairing the sidewalk. There are laws at the state level and in the city of San Jose:

California Chapter 22, Article 2 Section 5610

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.

San Jose 14.16.2200 Maintenance of repair of sidewalks

Section B. The owners of lots or portions of lots adjacent to or fronting on any portion of a sidewalk area between the property line of the lots and the street line, including parking strips, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and persons in possession of such lots by virtue of any permit or right shall repair and maintain such sidewalk areas and pay the costs and expenses therefor, including a charge for the City of San José's costs of inspection and administration whenever the city awards a contract for such maintenance and repair and including the costs of collection of assessments for the costs of maintenance and repair under subsection A. of this section or handling of any lien placed on the property due to failure of the property owner to promptly pay such assessments.

What repairs do I have to make?

The repair notice will provide a detailed scope of work listing everything that needs to be completed. This can include removing and replacing sections of the concrete sidewalk to grinding concrete to remove trip hazards. Additionally, they can have you prune or remove trees in the parking strip.

The notice will also include a section which lists the “Costs Estimates.” This is the cost the city will invoice you if you do not complete the work within 60 days.

Additionally, the inspector will mark your sidewalk with green paint. Green arrows indicate the section to be replaced. Sidewalk sections that need to be grinded will have a green “G” painted.

Should I just let the city do the repairs?  

No, because the city will cost you substantially more than using a private concrete contractor. The City of San Jose has the Prevailing Wage Rate Policy. This policy typically will inflate the cost of the repairs.

How long do I have to complete the repairs?

You have 60 days from the inspection. The notice indicates the specific date the repairs need to be completed.

Can I do the repairs myself?

Yes, you can as long as they meet code.

Can you do the repairs for me?

Yes, we can. In fact, our estimates are typically lower than what the city is reporting to property owners. Feel free to call us for a no-obligation site visit and estimate.


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