San Lorenzo Express News

Homeowners Get Help on Sidewalk Costs

APRIL 21, 2006

San Lorenzo homeowners will get a big break on the cost of maintaining the sidewalk in front of their homes — at least as long as public funds are available.

Homeowners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks in front of their property, and can be held liable for the cost of any injuries that occur because of a faulty sidewalk. Until now the county has been paying up to $750 of the total cost of sidewalk repair, with the homeowner responsible for the rest.

New funds are now available that will reduce the cost to homeowners dramatically, but only for properties in the San Lorenzo subarea of the Eden Redevelopment District. The county board of supervisors recently voted to allocate $300,000 in San Lorenzo subarea redevelopment funds for sidewalk repair.

Homeowners in that area will now be responsible only for $750 of the total cost of repair as long as there are funds available.

The county will continue to reimburse homeowners in other neighborhoods of the Eden unincorporated area — including the Ashland, Cherryland, and Castro Valley districts — for 50 percent of the cost of sidewalk repair up to $750. That money comes from Measure B 2000 funds, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2000 and administered by the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority. The county began to use Measure B money for sidewalk repair in 2003.

The local sidewalk repair program is managed by the county Public Works Agency. Once a homeowner fills out a form requesting reimbursement, a county inspector will look at the sidewalk and recommend needed repairs, which can mean complete replacement of heavily damaged sidewalks.

Homeowners can have the Public Works Agency hire someone to do the work, through competitive bidding, or hire someone on their own. If the work is performed by the county, homeowners can work out a payment plan over time.

For additional information, or to report a sidewalk hazard not on your property, call the Public Works Agency 670-5500. The agency's offices are at 399 Elmhurst Street, Hayward (behind the county court house on Winton Ave.).