By City Code, every owner, agent or occupant of any lot or parcel of ground situated within the City of Richmond must keep and maintain in good and sufficient condition, all existing sidewalks along all streets in front of or adjacent thereto, and to keep them free from snow, ice, filth and all obstructions, encroachments, encumbrances or other nuisances. If it becomes necessary to do so, the city may cause it to be done at the expense of the property owner.
The City Council may order the installation of sidewalk where none currently exists. In 1987, language was added to the City Code which authorized the City Council to formulate and adopt a policy to assist property owners. A policy was adopted which included the following requirements:
Participation in the program must be voluntary.
The City shall have final determination as to the quantity of sidewalk needed to be installed/replaced at each location.
The City of Richmond shall remain in complete control of any sidewalk program the funding of which is pursuant to the policy.
The City shall fund 50% of the cost for the sidewalk adjacent to the front of the lot and 75% of the cost for the sidewalk adjacent to the side frontage of a corner lot.
Sidewalk Assistance Program
As a result, the Sidewalk Assistance Program (SWAP) was implemented. Initially, the program was for developed properties with existing sidewalks. In 1988, existing developed properties without sidewalks were accepted as being eligible.
Vacant lots being developed are not eligible. All vacant lots that are developed must have a sidewalk adjacent to the property before a final occupancy permit is issued.
Sidewalk Improvement Program
In 1996, the City Council determined that the voluntary approach was not working satisfactorily. Plans were formulated for a multiphase sidewalk repair and installation program through special assessment. When instituted in 1997, the Sidewalk Improvement Program (SWIP) utilized many of the SWAP program provisions:
The city funds 50% of the cost for the sidewalk adjacent to the front of the lot and 75% of the cost for the sidewalk adjacent to the side frontage of a corner lot.
An annual interest rate of 6% shall be charged against all monies due and owing to the city.
The special assessment payments are placed on the winter tax roll for payment. The length of the payment is determined by the amount of the special assessment:
Up to $500 - 1 Payment
$500 to $1,000 - 2 Payments
Number or payments increases per increments of $500
No interest is charged on the first payment
A payment plan may be paid in full at any time without penalty by paying the balance due and owing plus interest to-date. The interest rate is one-half of one percent per month, or any portion thereof, and is computed from the previous due date.
The Sidewalk Improvement Program is administered through the Department of Public Works. For detailed information, contact the Public Service Director at 586-727-7575.