Chapter 15.20
DRIVEWAYS AND SIDEWALKS*

*    Editor’s Note: This chapter was revised in its entirety by Ord. 2004-07. The following prior code sections were formerly codified in this chapter: Prior code §§ 7220, 7221, 7222, 7223, 7223.1, 7223.2, 7223.3, 7223.4, 7223.5, 7224, 7226, 7227, 7228, 7229, 7230, 7231, 7232, 7233, 7234, 7235, 7236, 7237, 7239, 7240, 7240.1, 7241, 7242 and 7243; part of Ord. 94-62 was also formerly codified in this chapter.

Sections:

15.20.010    Standard plans for driveway approaches.

15.20.020    Official grades provided.

15.20.030    Specifications on file.

15.20.040    Rules and regulations.

15.20.050    Location.

15.20.060    Size and number.

15.20.070    Abandonment or alteration.

15.20.080    Provisions based on existing conditions.

15.20.090    Variances.

15.20.100    Drainage of surface water.

15.20.110    Permit for culvert type.

15.20.120    Application to local improvement districts.

15.20.130    Barriers.

15.20.140    Maintenance of improvements.

15.20.150    Completed construction approved.

15.20.160    Supervision.

15.20.170    Surplus materials to be removed.

15.20.180    Materials subject to inspection.

15.20.190    Contractor’s duty to prevent accident.

15.20.210    Property owner’s duty to maintain and repair sidewalk areas.

15.20.220    Liability for injuries to public.

15.20.230    Repealed by Ordinance 94-62 § 7.

15.20.240    Notice to property owners to install utility connections.

15.20.260    Street purpose declared.

15.20.270    Public nuisance.

15.20.280    Authority of director of public works.

15.20.290    Appeal to city council.

15.20.010 STANDARD PLANS FOR SIDEWALKS AND DRIVEWAY APPROACHES.

All sidewalks and driveway approaches in the sidewalk area shall be constructed in accordance with the standard plans and specifications and subsequent amendments thereto on file in the office of the director of public works, reference to which is hereby made for further particulars. The director of public works, or his/her authorized representative, shall specify in the permit or written approval to be issued under Chapters 15.04, 15.08, 15.20, 15.28, 15.32, 15.34 and 15.48, which particular standard plan shall be used on each sidewalk and driveway to be constructed and such construction shall conform to the standard plans, as specified by the director of public works in the said permit to be issued, and said sidewalk and driveway shall be so maintained in strict compliance therewith.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.020 OFFICIAL GRADES PROVIDED.

The lines and official grades for doing the work set forth in Chapters 15.04, 15.08, 15.20, 15.28, 15.32, 15.34 and 15.48, shall be established in the field by the director of public works, the fee for such work to be established by resolution of the city council.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.030 SPECIFICATIONS ON FILE.

All the work shall be done according to specifications for sidewalks and driveway approach construction on file in the office of the director of public works, reference to which is hereby made for further particulars.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.040 RULES AND REGULATIONS – LIABILITY OF LANDOWNERS TO PUBLIC.

Every driveway hereafter constructed, altered or repaired in the sidewalk area shall conform to the regulations set forth in Sections 15.20.050 through 15.20.090, 15.20.210 and 15.20.220. Additionally, all existing driveways and abandoned driveway approaches in the sidewalk area are subject to the terms of Sections 15.20.070, 15.20.210 and 15.20.220.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.050 LOCATION.

(a)    No driveway shall be so located as to create a hazard to pedestrians or motorists, or invite or compel illegal or unsafe traffic movements.

(b)    Unless otherwise approved by the director of public works, all driveways, including the wings or returns, shall be confined within lines perpendicular to the curbline and extend to the property lines.

(c)    No driveway shall be constructed in such manner as to be a hazard to any existing street lighting standard, utility pole, traffic regulating device, or fire hydrant. The cost of relocating any such street structure set forth above, when necessary to do so, shall be performed only through the person holding authority for the particular structure involved and at the expense of the person requesting the change.

(d)    Every driveway must provide access to something definite on private property, requiring the entrance of vehicles, except as provided in Section 24.08.2300 of this code or as otherwise specifically provided elsewhere in this code.

(e)    No construction, alteration or repair shall be permitted for any driveway which can be used only as a parking space or which provides access only to the area between the street roadway and private property, except as provided in Section 24.08.2300 of this code or as otherwise specifically provided elsewhere in this code.

(f)    No driveway shall be constructed to any lot, the building or improvements of which are so constructed as to prevent the passage of vehicles from such driveway to such lot.

(Ord. 2008-17 § 1, 2008: Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.060 SIZE AND NUMBER.

(a)    Except as otherwise provided herein, the total width of any driveway, or driveways, constructed to any parcel of land from any public street shall not exceed thirty feet, including the wings or returns, the measurement being made at the curbline.

(b)    Except as may otherwise be required by the Americans With Disabilities Act or similar statutes, the total width of all driveways, including wings or returns, for any one ownership on any one street in any commercial or any industrial zone shall not exceed fifty percent of the frontage of the ownership along that street measured at the curbline of the street.

(c)    Except as may otherwise be required by the Americans With Disabilities Act or similar statutes, the total width of all driveways, including wings or returns, for any one ownership on any one street in any residential zone shall not exceed forty percent of the frontage of the ownership along that street measured at the curbline of the street.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.070 ABANDONMENT OR ALTERATION.

(a)    Any driveway approach which has become abandoned, discontinued or unused through a change of the conditions for which it was originally intended, or which, for any reason, has become unnecessary, shall be closed and the owner or the successor in interest of such owner shall be obligated to restore said driveway approach and such additional area as may be designated by the director of public works at the property owner’s expense with a standard curb, gutter and sidewalk section to be constructed according to the city’s specifications.

An abandoned driveway approach which is not restored as required in this chapter is hereby deemed to be not in compliance with Section 15.20.210 of this code. Where a driveway is not in compliance with Section 15.20.210, the owner of the land abutting the subject driveway approach shall be personally liable for injuries incurred by members of the public pursuant to Section 15.20.220 of this code.

In order to assure reconstruction of driveway approaches under this chapter, all relevant provisions and procedures described in Section 15.20.210 of this code and Chapter 22 of Division 7, Part 3, of the Streets and Highways Code and related provisions may be enforced by the city.

Any action taken by the director of public works pursuant to this section or any other section of this code to restore an abandoned driveway approach is discretionary. Neither this section nor any other section of this code shall be construed as creating a duty or obligation on behalf of the city to restore abandoned driveway approaches. The city shall not incur any liability, either to the adjacent landowner or to the public, arising out of its alleged failure to restore, or failure to properly restore, abandoned driveway approaches.

(b)    Whenever the total width of driveways on a single street exceeds the limits specified in subsections (b) and (c) of Section 15.20.060, said driveways shall be made to conform to the provisions of this chapter in the event of any of the following changes:

(1)    Any alteration or repair of such existing driveways;

(2)    Any construction of additional driveways or the alteration or repair of any driveways in the ownership when the ownership has frontage on two or more streets,

(3)    Any “change of use” of the ownership, as defined in Section 15.08.010.

Upon the application for a permit to alter or repair any one or more of the driveways, as aforesaid, the director of public works may require such changes in any or all of the driveways of that ownership as he may deem necessary for the better movement of traffic or to provide better protection to pedestrians.

Where a single ownership is developed into more than one unit of operation, each sufficient in itself to meet the requirements of off-street parking and loading, as required by the zoning ordinance, and where the director of public works determines that the safety of pedestrians or vehicular traffic is not endangered, the requirements outlined above shall be construed to apply to each separate unit of operation rather than to the entire ownership.

There shall be not more than two driveways on one street for any one ownership except where a single ownership is developed into more than one unit of operation, each sufficient in itself to meet the requirements of off-street parking and loading as required by the zoning ordinance, and where the necessity for separate access to the street is evident. In such cases, there shall be not more than two driveways on one street for any one unit of operation.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.080 PROVISIONS BASED ON EXISTING CONDITIONS.

Where standard curbs and gutters of portland cement concrete are existing or are to be constructed in conjunction with driveways, the following provisions shall apply to the driveway construction:

(1)    When portland cement concrete sidewalks are existing, driveways shall be placed from the curbline to the existing sidewalk line, and shall be constructed of portland cement concrete. When that section of sidewalk in line with the proposed driveway is in poor condition and determined by the director of public works to be unsafe, the driveway section shall be constructed of portland cement concrete through the sidewalk section to the property line. Any portion of the remaining sidewalk which is in poor condition shall be repaired or replaced. In either case, driveways shall be extended to the property line with portland cement concrete.

(2)    Whenever any driveway is constructed to cross an existing sidewalk which has been determined by the director of public works to differ in grade from the existing sidewalk grade, the driveway shall nevertheless be placed at the established grade, and shall be constructed of portland cement concrete through the sidewalk sections to the property line. If the existing sidewalk is below or above the established grade, an approved temporary concrete sidewalk patch shall be installed on each side of the driveway approach. The length and width of the temporary patch to be constructed shall be specified by the director of public works, and the remaining frontage shall be improved by the construction of a monolithic concrete curb and gutter section.

(3)    When driveways are constructed, the following improvements shall be required in connection with such driveway approach construction:

Where the existing roadway is at the established grade line or if it is practical to establish the gutter grade, the construction of standard curbs and gutters of portland cement concrete along the ultimate edge of the pavement, as determined by the director of public works, shall be continuous between any two driveways for one ownership. Standard curbs and gutters of portland cement concrete shall also be continuous between the driveways and lines extended from the property corners perpendicular to the curbline. Where a single ownership is developed into more than one unit of operation each sufficient in itself to meet the requirements of off-street parking and loading as required by the zoning ordinance, the requirements for curbs and gutters as outlined above shall be construed to apply to each separate unit of operation rather than to the entire ownership. Construction of the driveways shall be as outlined in subsection (1) of this section.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.090 VARIANCES.

The director of public works shall have the power to grant variances in the application of the provisions of Sections 15.20.040 through 15.20.100, to vary or modify the strict application of the rules and regulations therein provided, in cases in which there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships, or results inconsistent with the purposes of said provisions, in the event of their strict application. In order to grant any such variance the director of public works shall be satisfied that there are exceptional, extraordinary or special circumstances or conditions applicable to the land or use involved, or to the intended use of the property, that do not apply to other properties similarly situated, that the granting of the variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of substantial property rights of the applicant, and that the granting of such variance will not materially affect adversely the safety of persons residing or working in the neighborhood of the property, or be materially detrimental to the public welfare. In addition, the director of public works shall not grant such variance unless it is in keeping with good engineering practice.

The decision of the director of public works shall be final, unless an appeal shall be filed with the city council in accordance with Chapter 1.16.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.100 DRAINAGE OF SURFACE WATER.

Building permit applications for commercial and multifamily residential development shall include detailed drainage plans for the review and approval of the director of public works.

In addition to the information required under Section 15.08.040 for application for a permit, the plot plan shall show the details of grading, drainage and surfacing, including the surfacing material to be used. Such plan shall be in compliance with the provisions of Chapter 16.19 and all other applicable provisions of the Municipal Code.

All such paved or hard surfaced areas shall be provided with approved catchbasins or drainage so as to dispose of all water that may fall upon such areas. Under no circumstances shall concentrations of water be allowed to run across a sidewalk area. All drainage provisions shall be of such design as to carry surface water to the nearest practical storm sewer or other means of disposal approved by the director of public works.

No person shall construct or alter any such storm drainage structure without having first obtained a written authorization therefore from the director of public works.

No permit shall be issued until the proposal has been approved by the director of public works and, where necessary, by the director of planning and community development or the director’s designee.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.110 PERMIT FOR CULVERT TYPE.

No person shall place in a public gutter or roadway in the city any materials or appliances to be used as an approach for the driving of vehicles over the curb and sidewalk, where the same will interfere with the efficient cleaning of the streets, and the proper drainage of stormwater and surface water. Driveway approaches consisting of corrugated metal driveway culvert and which bridge over the gutter or extend out into the roadway beyond the curbline, will be allowed only in special cases where other types cannot be constructed, and then only upon obtaining the permit required by Chapters 15.04, 15.08, 15.20, 15.28, 15.32, 15.34 and 15.48, and conforming with the standard plan as referred to for the particular type of driveway approach. When any driveway is to be constructed across an existing drainage ditch, a suitable culvert or other drainage structure, as determined by the director of public works, shall be provided and installed at the total expense of the abutting property owner.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.120 APPLICATION TO LOCAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS.

The provisions of Chapters 15.04, 15.08, 15.20, 15.28, 15.32, 15.34 and 15.48, pertaining to construction of driveway approaches, shall apply with equal force and effect to similar construction in connection with local improvement districts under any of the laws of the state of California where the cost of the work is to be paid from assessments on private property.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.130 BARRIERS.

Whenever any area on private property is used for the purpose of parking automobiles, trucks or other vehicles, whether for the sale of such vehicles, public parking, or for other reasons, adequate barriers shall be provided to prevent the parking of vehicles in such a manner that they overhang the property line. Such barrier shall be constructed as directed by the director of public works.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.140 MAINTENANCE OF IMPROVEMENTS.

All driveway paving, parking strip paving, drainage structures or any other improvements within the space between the property line and the roadway shall be maintained in a safe and usable condition at the expense of the abutting property owner.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.150 COMPLETED CONSTRUCTION APPROVED.

Such driveway approaches as have heretofore been constructed under sanction and to the satisfaction of the director of public works and are now being maintained as so constructed, and such other driveway approaches as have already been constructed, and which as to method of construction are within the restriction denoted on the standard plans referred to in this chapter, are hereby permitted to be maintained, subject, however, to the obligation imposed by the provisions of Section 15.20.130.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.160 SUPERVISION.

All such work of sidewalk or driveway approach construction shall be done in a good and workmanlike manner and under the supervision and to the satisfaction of the director of public works.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.170 SURPLUS MATERIALS TO BE REMOVED.

All sand, surplus material and rubbish remaining on the street after the completion of the work shall be immediately removed by the contractor, and all surplus earth removed in the construction shall be immediately removed from the streets by the contractor upon the completion of the work or improvement.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.180 MATERIALS SUBJECT TO INSPECTION.

All materials used in the construction of any such driveway approach or sidewalk shall be subject to the inspection of the director of public works, and any material found by him/her not to conform to the specifications therefore shall be rejected by him/her. Such rejected material shall be immediately removed from the work by the contractor and shall not be returned there or used thereon.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.190 CONTRACTOR’S DUTY TO PREVENT ACCIDENT.

The person constructing said driveway approach shall carry sufficient public liability, property damage and workmen’s compensation insurance to guard against injury or accident to persons or property and shall continuously have on file with the city clerk certificates indicating he/she has adequate public liability, property damage and workmen’s compensation insurance.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.210 PROPERTY OWNER’S DUTY TO THE PUBLIC TO MAINTAIN AND REPAIR SIDEWALK AREAS.

(a)    The maintenance and repair of sidewalk areas, including the sidewalk, curb and planting strip, and the making, confirming and collecting of assessments for the cost and expenses of said maintenance and repair, may be done, and the proceedings therefor may be had and taken, in accordance with this section and the procedure therefor provided in Chapter 22 of Division 7, Part 3, of the Streets and Highways Code as the same is now in effect or may hereafter be amended. In the event of any conflict between the provisions of said Chapter 22 of Division 7, Part 3, of the Streets and Highways Code and this section, the provisions of this section shall control.

(b)    The owners of lots or portions of lots adjacent to or fronting on any portion of a sidewalk area, including planting strips, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, shall repair and maintain such sidewalk areas and pay the costs and expenses therefor, including a charge for the city of Santa Cruz’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 the handling of any lien placed on the property due to failure of the property owner to promptly pay such assessments.

(c)    For purposes of this section, “maintenance and repair of sidewalk area” shall include, but not be limited to, maintenance and repair of surfaces, including grinding, removal and replacement of sidewalks, repair and maintenance of curbs and gutters, removal of weeds and debris, tree root pruning and installing root barriers, and other maintenance, including pruning and trimming of trees, shrubs, ground cover and other landscaping within the sidewalk area, including planting strips and curbs, so that the sidewalk area will remain in a condition that is not dangerous to property or to persons and will not interfere with the convenience of the public using the area in a reasonable manner.

(d)    All maintenance activities performed under this section shall conform with the guidelines and recommendations of the public works and parks and recreation departments. Tree and plant maintenance shall comply with the requirements stated in Section 13.30.060 of this code.

Maintenance of the sidewalk area shall include maintenance of trees and other vegetation contained in planters and other structures located above ground level within the sidewalk area.

(e)    Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 5614 of the Streets and Highways Code, the director of public works may, in his or her discretion and for sufficient cause, extend the period within which required maintenance and repair of sidewalk areas must commence by a period of not to exceed seventy-four days from the time the notice referred to in said Section 5614 is given.

(f)    Prior to performing any curb or sidewalk repairs or replacement, a permit shall be obtained from the director of public works as required by this chapter. Before any tree is pruned, trimmed, root pruned or removed under this section, all permits required by Section 3.10.100 of this code must first be obtained from the director of parks and recreation. All permits shall be displayed at the worksite.

(Ord. 2013-20 § 1, 2013; Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.220 LIABILITY FOR INJURIES TO PUBLIC.

The property owner required by Section 15.20.210 to maintain and repair the sidewalk area shall owe a duty to members of the public to keep and maintain the sidewalk area in a safe and non-dangerous condition. If, as a result of the failure of any property owner to maintain the sidewalk area in a non-dangerous condition as required by Section 15.20.210, any person suffers injury or damage to person or property, the property owner shall be liable to such person for the resulting damages or injury. The city of Santa Cruz shall have a cause of action for indemnity against such property owner for any damages the city may be required to pay in satisfaction of any judgment or settlement of any claim that results from injury to persons or property as a legal result of the failure of the owner to maintain the sidewalks and sidewalk areas in accordance with this section. No liability shall arise under this section where an application for a permit to correct a dangerous condition is denied and said condition subsequently causes injury to a member of the public, provided that the scope and purpose of the application is limited to the correction of unsafe conditions as specified by Sections 13.30.060(b), 15.20.070(a), and 15.20.210(c) of this code.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.230 Repealed by Ordinance 94-62 § 7.

15.20.240 NOTICE TO PROPERTY OWNERS TO INSTALL UTILITY CONNECTIONS.

When any portion of any public street in the city is about to be macadamized or remacadamized, paved or repaved, whether by private contract or by contract with the director of public works, it shall be the duty of the director of public works to require, by notice in writing, to be delivered to them or left on the premises, the owners or occupants of the lots fronting on any portion of the public street, to lay forthwith gas, sewer, and water pipes, when the same have not been previously laid, connecting said lots with the gas, sewer and water mains under the streets, in front of said property. Such owners must, within three days after notice given as aforesaid, commence the work specified therein, and diligently and without interruption prosecute the same to completion to the satisfaction of the director of public works.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.260 STREET PURPOSE DECLARED.

The lands included within the setback lines herein described will be occupied by a public street when same is constructed under a program now adopted by the city and State Division of Highways, and the provisions of Chapters 15.04, 15.08, 15.20, 15.28, 15.32, 15.34 and 15.48, are notice to property owners affected hereby not to place structures or improvements within said setback lines; that no structures or improvements will be permitted therein; and that any such placed therein will be at the risk, cost, expense and damage of the owner of the premises.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.270 PUBLIC NUISANCE.

Any work done contrary to the provisions of Chapters 15.04, 15.08, 15.20, 15.28, 15.32, 15.34 and 15.48, pertaining to driveway approaches, is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and shall be, at the expense of the owner of the premises abutting thereon, or the person ordering the same to be done, abated by the director of public works.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.280 AUTHORITY OF DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Nothing in Chapters 15.04, 15.08, 15.20, 15.28, 15.32, 15.34 and 15.48, shall be deemed to compel the director of public works to issue permits provided for herein, if, in his/her judgment, the proposed work is against the public interest or convenience.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).

15.20.290 APPEAL TO CITY COUNCIL.

Any person feeling aggrieved because of the type of driveway approach specified by the director of public works in the permit issued to him/her in pursuance of the terms of Chapters 15.04, 15.08, 15.20, 15.28, 15.32, 15.34 and 15.48, hereof may appeal to the city council from the decision of the director of public works pursuant to Chapter l.16 of this code.

(Ord. 2004-07 § 2 (part), 2004).