City of Portage Sidewalk Policy
Except as otherwise stated, it is the goal of the City of Portage to ultimately have sidewalks on all city streets for the benefit of health, safety, and welfare of its constituents. A long range plan that looks ahead 5 years shall be revisited by the Council on an annual basis to establish target areas and reassess needs as the community needs and priorities evolve with regard to pedestrian traffic. This will also allow constituents to plan ahead and have a level of awareness with regard to future sidewalk projects and targeted areas for sidewalk construction and/or reconstruction.
In addition to the provisions of this policy, the provisions Title 2 – Chapter 6 of the Code of Ordinances as well as Section 66.615 of the Wisconsin State Statutes, so far as applicable to the City of Portage, shall govern the construction, improvement, and repair of sidewalks.
Sidewalks shall be installed in all new subdivisions with urban street sections upon the earliest occurrence of any of the following events:
• The passage of 24 months from the date that any property within the subdivision is sold or transferred.
• The development of 50% of the lots contained in the subdivision.
• The sale or transfer of 75% of the lots contained in the subdivision.
• The passage of 5 years from the date of the Resolutions approving the subdivision plat.
Sidewalk shall be installed abutting properties occupied by new residential construction along any street with an urban section prior to the completion of its construction and/or the issuance of an occupancy permit. Those structures completed and/or receiving temporary occupancy permits during the winter months shall install the required sidewalk no later than June 1st of the succeeding year.
All properties adjacent to street reconstruction where an urban street section is being completed shall have sidewalk installed where none exists and sidewalk repaired or replaced where the existing sidewalk is unsafe, defective, or insufficient, and/or where sidewalk grades no longer match new street grades.
Existing Developed Areas/Subdivisions: Each year, as part of the succeeding year’s budget preparation, the Municipal Services and Utilities Committee, as part of the annual sidewalk maintenance program, shall establish a target area, within which sidewalk shall be installed where none exists along urban street sections and sidewalk repaired or replaced where the existing sidewalk is unsafe, defective, or insufficient. Target areas shall be designated according to need with scheduling and public notification at least 6 months in advance of planned construction.
The Municipal Services and Utilities Committee may determine that sidewalk is not required when any one or more of the following conditions apply:
• There is insufficient right-of-way
• The installation encourages pedestrian traffic in an otherwise dangerous area
• The installation abuts industrial zoned lands, unless situated between other pedestrian generating areas.
• There is justification from the City Engineer determining that sidewalks are not required based on special circumstances.
Trees located within the public right-of-way either causing upheaval of sidewalk sections or otherwise compromised by sidewalk installation, repair, or replacement shall be evaluated by the City Forester who shall make a recommendation as to the health and life expectancy of said trees. Trees within the public right-of-way that are determined to be unhealthy and/or near term shall be removed by the City of Portage, at no expense to the property owner. Replacement trees may be obtained from City Forester or purchased separately by the property owner. (If purchased separately, the property owner may be eligible for a 50% reimbursement of the cost, from the City Forester, up to a maximum of $50.) In either case, the City Forester must approve the specie of tree as well as its placement in the public right-of-way. Trees located on private property that are either causing upheaval of sidewalk sections or otherwise compromised by sidewalk installation, repair, or replacement shall be evaluated by the City Forester who shall make a recommendation as to the health and life expectancy of said trees. Trees on private property that are determined to be unhealthy and/or near term may be removed by the property owner, entirely at the property owner’s expense.
All new sidewalks installed in accordance with this policy shall be the responsibility of the abutting property owners. The abutting property owners shall pay 100% of the installation costs, except the cost for any necessary topsoil, restoration, and seeding.
The replacement cost for any sidewalk that the City determines must be replaced solely because it is too narrow, shall, in part be the responsibility of the adjoining property owner. The adjoining property owner shall pay a pro-rated share of the replacement cost based on the extent of the widening. For example, the adjoining property owner shall pay 20% of the cost to widen a four-foot wide sidewalk to five feet. Similarly, the adjoining property owner shall pay 40% of the cost to widen a three-foot wide sidewalk to five feet. The City of Portage will pay 100% of the removal, disposal, restoration, and seeding costs, provided the City’s contractor replaces the sidewalk and the abutting property owner will be only for the new sidewalk construction in the replacement scenario.
Sidewalk installation, repair, and/or replacement costs totaling $300.00 or less shall be paid full within 60 days of being invoiced. Sidewalk installation, repair, and/or replacement costs exceeding $300.00 that are not paid in full shall automatically be placed on the property tax bill with the principal being collected in five equal annual installments together with interest charges of 8% per year on the unpaid balance.
A property owner may apply for a “hardship” payment plan. The Housing and Urban Development County Median Income Table for the current year will be used to determine if an individual qualifies for the “hardship” payment plan. Property owners must submit their most current income tax return, an application for the alternate payment and sign a sworn statement that the information they provide is true and accurate. The “hardship” payment plan would require the making of an assessment payment in the minimum amount of $300.00 per year plus any interest at the rate of 3% per annum. Greater amounts can be paid at the discretion of the property owner.