We usually take sidewalks for granted, but they do play an important role in the quality of life we expect in Avon Lake. They provide safe routes to schools, parks, commercial establishments, and are a healthy way to connect our Avon Lake.
Over time, sidewalks can become damaged from weathering, tree roots, and even regular use. Damaged sidewalks can pose a hazard to pedestrians, so repairs to sidewalks help reduce the likelihood of someone getting injured. For this reason, the City of Avon Lake is re-energizing its Sidewalk Program, which was first implemented in 1972. Similar to our neighboring communities, this program aims to improve the overall condition and quality of the existing sidewalks to provide a safe, ADA-accessible pathway for pedestrian travel.
Avon Lake Codified Ordinances Section 660.05 and Ohio Revised Code 729 require that property owners are responsible for the maintenance of sidewalks adjacent to their property. The City is paving the way by committing to repairing sidewalks located on City-owned properties by Fall 2021, weather permitting.
The process will begin for non-City-owned properties with City officials following up with properties that have received notice of non-compliant sidewalks in the past. City inspectors, wearing City-issued clothing, will then work their way through Avon Lake to examine all sidewalks. A map on the City website will show their progress. Those properties with sidewalks in non-compliance set forth by Avon Lake’s Sidewalk Program will receive letters with details and further instructions.
Please call (440) 930-4114 with any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I have to pay for sidewalk repair/replacement; don't my property taxes pay for it?
Many residents ask why the City does not just pay for sidewalk repair/replacement. City and State Code states that property owners are responsible for the maintenance of sidewalks and driveways adjacent to their property (Avon Lake Codified Ordinances Section 660.05 and Ohio Revised Code 729).
How long will I have to complete the sidewalk repairs?
The repairs need to be completed as soon as possible to provide a safe passageway for pedestrians, however, deadlines are established and given in the notification letter.
The street tree (tree lawn tree) is raising the sidewalk; why do I pay for that?
Regardless of the cause of the defect, it is the property owner's responsibility as per the sidewalk ordinance to pay for the sidewalk installation, repair, or replacement.
The street tree (tree lawn tree) is raising the sidewalk - will the City remove the tree?
The City will only pay for the removal of a tree when it was paid for by the Street Tree Lawn Program and is necessary for street rehabilitation, reconstruction, infrastructure improvement/repair, or the street tree is deemed unhealthy or potentially hazardous. The removal and replacement of any trees outside the right-of-way shall be at the property owner's discretion and cost.
What are the criteria for a defective sidewalk?
Sidewalk panels to be replaced are those that are broken, uneven, settled, projecting, missing, or deteriorating. The sidewalk inspector determines whether the sidewalk panels meet the criteria for replacement during the initial inspection. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace sidewalk panels that appear to be in good shape in order to re-establish the sidewalk grade or to maintain proper drainage. If your sidewalk has been inspected, details are provided on the Sidewalk Inspection Form.
Do I need a sidewalk repair permit, and where can I go to obtain one?
Yes. You will need a right-of-way permit. Permits to make repairs can be obtained from the Public Works Department. This is a no-fee permit and can be obtained Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm at City Hall, 150 Avon Belden Road. The person/contractor doing the work obtains the permit. If a contractor is hired, they must obtain the permit. By obtaining a permit, the sidewalk will be inspected by the City. If the repair or installation meets the City standards, then the property will be removed from the list that would be assessed.
One sidewalk panel is partly on the neighbor's property, who pays for that?
Only the portion in front of (abutting) each property is assessed to the corresponding property owner. So if 3' of the sidewalk panel abuts your property and 2' abuts your neighbor's, you pay for 3', and your neighbor pays for 2'.
Can I do the sidewalk repair myself?
Permanent (concrete) sidewalk repairs can only be done by a bonded and permitted sidewalk contractor. If you are a qualified contractor and you wish to be bonded with the City of Avon Lake's Building Department, please call (440) 930-4102. The Building Department maintains a list of all bonded sidewalk contractors. The City does not recommend specific contractors.
Can I fix the sidewalk with asphalt?
No. Permanent sidewalk repairs cannot be made with asphalt. Asphalt is only allowed as a temporary measure to alleviate trip hazards until the acceptable concrete repair is made by the deadline. Only concrete raising (jacking/lifting) or full replacement of concrete sidewalk panel(s) are acceptable repair methods.
How do I get a list of bonded sidewalk contractors to get other estimates?
Call the City of Avon Lake Building Department at (440) 930-4102.
Why does the new concrete have to be bright white, instead of grey like the older panels?
The contractor must use the white-pigmented curing compound to reflect heat and retain moisture during the curing process. The bright white color will eventually wear away.
Can I fix more squares than what is marked for repairs?
Absolutely. The City only marks the minimum number of squares to eliminate hazards. You may have additional squares that are in marginal condition that you may want to repair (at your cost), or you may find it is in your best interest to replace entire segments of sidewalk rather than doing spot repairs.
Is patching an acceptable repair method?
No. The use of various concrete leveling or vinyl patching compounds to repair deteriorated sidewalk surfaces, or as a means to eliminate a tripping hazard, are NOT an approved method of repair.
Who is responsible for sidewalk repairs if I sell my property?
If a property switches ownership prior to deficiencies being corrected, it is the Seller's responsibility to notify the Buyer of this deficiency and provide the Buyer with the Sidewalk Inspection Form and supporting documentation. While the responsibility to make these repairs remains with the property, a Seller's failure to provide notice to a Buyer may result in the Seller being invoiced for said repairs.
Am I responsible for completing sidewalk repairs if I just purchased my home?
The responsibility for the cost of sidewalk repairs lies with the property owner at the time the repairs are completed. If you purchase a home after the previous owner received notification of the required sidewalk repairs, but before the repairs are completed, then you are responsible to complete the repairs and pay for the work. The prior owner is responsible to inform you of the required repair work before you purchase the home. A Seller's failure to provide notice to a Buyer may result in the Seller being invoiced for said repairs.
Which is more expensive, the City contracting the work or the property owner?
The city will provide you a per square foot cost for repairs and replacements. It may be more cost-effective and efficient to join with neighbor(s) in hiring a contractor.
Please Note: All sidewalk replacement requires a minimum of a 24-hr notice for a pre-pour inspection. Please call the Public Works Department at (440) 930-4101.