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In an effort to beautify our City's neighborhoods, street trees are encouraged in front of each residence. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the street tree and for the cost of concrete repair, even though the concrete may have been raised by the street tree. Certain species of trees may raise concrete if preventative maintenance is not performed.
In extreme cases, street trees cannot be saved and must be removed before the sidewalk and/or curb and gutter can be replaced. City standards require replacement of the tree, to be selected from a list of approved street trees. Proper tree selection is critical and is reviewed by the City Arborist. The tree permit process in these cases must be pursued before a concrete permit can be issued. Tree permits are issued by the Public Works Director. Tree work permitting is governed by Chapter 7-11.
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The property owner is responsible for property maintaining this area (see City of Watsonville Municipal Code Title 7 Chapter 2). This responsibility includes maintenance of damaged or displaced concrete, abatement of weeds or debris, and the maintenance of trees and shrubs whether on private or public property. Replace and trimming of street trees and shrubs is further governed by the Parks & Community Services Department.
The owner of property adjoining a sidewalk area is liable for injuries caused by that owner's failure to maintain the sidewalk area in a safe condition (see City of Watsonville Municipal Code on sidewalks, Title 7 chapter 2.)
Visibility - When parkway strip shrubbery interferes with vehicle operator visibility, trimming to a maximum height of thirty inches is required. Thirty (30) inches maximum height, 25 feet minimum sight distance at corners).
Walkway and Gutter Clearance - Trimming of ground cover or shrubs is required when there is an encroachment onto the sidewalk or gutter and must clear seven ft. (7'+) over the sidewalk.
Obstacles in the Parkway Strip - Elimination of tree stumps, large rocks, trash, holes, and some built-up planters is required. When the parkway strip is unimproved or landscaped and there is a drop, the parkway strip must be filled with dirt or other material (no asphalt) to eliminate tripping hazards.
Repair of the sidewalk concrete is required in the following circumstances:
Curb and gutter repair is required in the following circumstances:
Construction of curbs, gutters, and sidewalks in City streets may be performed by a "C8" or "A" licensed and insured contractor. A permit is required for concrete repair, and will be issued to licensed contractors for a fee by Community Development. You can also enter into a contract with Public Works to have the repairs made with a 12-month interest free loan.
With technology, you can now search the internet for local contractors or you can look in the yellow pages of the phone book. The "C8" or "A" licensed contractor selected must secure a concrete construction permit from Community Development.
Yes, all work and materials must be in conformance with the City of Watsonville Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction and Parks and Recreation ISA Standards.
Before placing any concrete you must have the forms, base, tree root removal, and saw cuts inspected. After approval, a City-approved concrete mix must be used. Finish must be a light brook finish with score marks to match the existing sidewalk. After the work is completed, you must call for a final inspection. A permit is required for all concrete work in the public right-of-way. To obtain a permit or arrange an inspection, call (831) 768-3110.
To reduce the chance of future concrete displacement, trees can be root-pruned and a root barrier installed. Care must be taken when root pruning to avoid damaging underground utilities.
Also deep-watering the tree, that is, applying a slow trickle of water over a 24-hour period, encourages deeper root growth which reduces the chance of sidewalk damage.