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The City of Royal Oak prides itself on being a walkable community and puts great efforts to provide a safe and complete sidewalk network. Our codes and ordinances are written so that we can monitor, repair and add to the network accordingly.
In 2019 the city commission directed the engineering division to begin a new six-year sidewalk program beginning in Spring 2020.
City Ordinance §650-17 dictates that all sidewalks within the City shall be kept and maintained in good repair by the owner of the land adjacent to and abutting upon it. If any owner shall neglect to keep and maintain the sidewalk along the front, rear, or side of the land owned by him in good repair and safe for the use of the public, the owner shall be liable to the City for any damages recovered against the City sustained by any person by reason of such sidewalk being unsafe and out of repair.
The property owner may elect to replace the problem public sidewalk by hiring a contractor to perform the work. That contractor must obtain a Right-of-Way Permit through the city engineering division prior to beginning work. The work must be completed BEFORE the city’s contractor arrives on that street.
Additional public sidewalk replacement may be added to the scheduled work for a property. Contact the engineering division to schedule an appointment with the inspector and have the necessary paperwork executed. It should be noted that once started, the program and contractor moves quickly, and requests for additional work should be made immediately after receiving the notification letter.
The property owner may contact the city’s contractor directly to arrange for the installation of any driveway or approach work; however this work cannot be added to the city’s sidewalk contract and shall be contracted directly with the contractor.
Property owners will be billed by the City for the sidewalk work with one bill in the beginning of the following year. The bill shall be paid in full within 30 days or as noted on the invoice. Unpaid bills will be added to the tax role of properties as required.
Property owners may request a payment plan for the sidewalk work, which must be approved by the city commission. Once approved, payment plans will be billed through the treasurer’s office. They are typically spread over six years with a maximum 6% interest rate. Interest rates and time periods are established by the city commission prior to billing. Payment plans can be paid off at any time without penalty; contact the treasurer’s office for a payoff amount. Currently, this is the only payment plan offered by the city.
In addition to the criteria for replacing deficient sidewalk, the city commission also authorized the installation of new sidewalks adjacent to properties currently not providing 5 foot wide concrete sidewalks. This fulfills the City’s master plans and non-motorized plan of a complete walkable community, to continue to expand the sidewalk network so that pedestrians can traverse to all areas and access all properties safely.
The property owner should contact the engineering division and schedule an appointment to meet with the inspector who will explain the required criteria and note why sidewalks meet specific criteria. If the property owner further disagrees with the assessment, they may submit a written request for exemption which will be reviewed by the city engineer, who will respond in writing.
The sidewalk program typically begins in early June and continues to the end of October. In any particular location, the sidewalk will be removed and replaced within a matter of days up to one week. New concrete sidewalks placed in a driveway location cannot be driven on for 7 days. Adjacent pavement and lawn restoration will be performed as the contractor progresses through the target area and will be completed before the end of the contract. Property owners can help by watering newly planted grass seed to ensure its growth.
The city or its contractor will provide advance written notice the day beforehand to any property affected with sidewalk to be removed and replaced across the driveway. The notice, a door hanger, will be placed in the door of the affected property alerting the property owner to have all necessary vehicles moved to the street where parking is allowed. The city will not enforce special parking areas during the construction. Parking is not allowed on major roads. Barricades may be placed at drive locations until it is safe to drive on the new pavement.
The city’s contractor has been instructed to take special care when building sidewalks around sprinkler systems. As stated in the notification letter, property owners are required to mark their sprinklers so that these locations are clear to the contractor. The contractor will repair or replace any marked sprinkler that becomes damaged from the work. Private sprinklers located on city right-of-way that are not marked by the property owner prior to sidewalk construction will not be repaired if damaged.
This work is included in the construction of sidewalk. Tree roots will be removed adjacent to marked sidewalk panels where possible. In some instances, where space is available, the sidewalk may be curved around a tree. The property owner is responsible to repair the sidewalks regardless of the location or owner of the tree. City trees will not be removed unless the Parks & Forestry division deems the tree unhealthy or too large for the space where the tree is intended to grow.