[Adopted 2-25-2015 by Ord. No. 317 as Ch. 28, Art. II, of the 2015 Pittsfield Charter Township Code]
The purpose of this article is to:
Regulate the repair and maintenance of public sidewalks to keep them in a proper and safe condition for public use;
Provide for the imposition of liability upon abutting landowners for injuries or damages caused by a defective sidewalk;
Provide for the establishment of sidewalk maintenance districts by the Township Board of Trustees for the assessment of the costs of repairs to sidewalks in the districts;
Provide standards for proper sidewalk maintenance, repairs and construction; and
Provide indemnification of the Township for the costs of required maintenance and repair not accomplished by abutting or adjacent landowners.
The owners of all lots and premises within the Township are required to maintain, repair and keep safe sidewalks adjacent to or upon their lots and premises in or along the public street and alley rights-of-way in the Township.
It shall be the duty of all owners of premises within the limits of the Township to keep all cement, asphalt and concrete walks, and sidewalks that have been laid in front of, upon or adjacent to such premises in or along any of the street or alley rights-of-way in good repair and free of dangerous ice, snow or other dangerous obstructions and/or conditions. Any owner of any such premises who shall allow any such sidewalk to remain in disrepair or in a dangerous condition shall be responsible and liable for injuries and damages arising out of the disrepair or unsafe condition of the sidewalk. Such owner shall further indemnify and reimburse the Township for all liability, costs and expenses the Township might incur as a result of any such defective or dangerous sidewalk.
All sidewalks constructed or repaired shall comply with the following specifications:
All sidewalks shall be constructed to grade established by existing adjoining walks or, in the absence of the foregoing, by the Township Engineer, and shall be paved with a single course of concrete using limestone aggregate, which shall have a compressive strength of not less than 3,500 pounds per square inch within 28 days of paving.
All sidewalks shall be at least five feet in width. Wider walks to a maximum of 10 feet may be required by the Utilities and Municipal Services Department in commercial or industrial areas or multiple-family areas, due to anticipated traffic and the development of the area.
Paving shall be constructed on at least a four-inch-thick sand cushion and shall be at least four inches in depth, except across driveways, where it shall be at least six inches in depth. Paving joints shall be perpendicular to sidelines at intervals consistent with adjoining or abutting sidewalks and not greater than the sidewalk width. One-inch expansion joints shall be placed through the walk at least every 50 feet, and between walks and slippery surfaces.
The surface shall be roughened with a mechanic's brush or other equipment to prevent smooth and slippery surfaces.
Bicycle paths on or along public roads shall be constructed similar to sidewalks and shall not be less than six feet in width.
Under Public Act No. 359 of 1947 (MCL 42.31), a Township Board of Trustees may construct, repair or maintain or may order the construction, repair and maintenance of sidewalks for the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Township after notifying the involved property owners of the time and place of a hearing on such order. Following the hearing it may either construct, repair or maintain the sidewalk and assess the cost over a five-year period against the abutting property owners or permit the owners within a specified time to have the sidewalks constructed, repaired or maintained according to Township specification at their expense. No work shall be commenced until approved by either the County Road Commission or State Department of Transportation having jurisdiction over the right-of-way within which the sidewalk is located.
The cost of replacement or repair of a sidewalk to be charged against a property owner shall be based upon actual cost or engineer's estimates, less such subsidy or credit as the Township Board of Trustees may allow.
The Township Board of Trustees, in its discretion, may also, after replacing or repairing a sidewalk, authorize collection of the costs of such replacement or repair by civil process, counterclaim or such other means as may be proper for the collection of debts by legal process.
[Added 8-10-2016 by Ord. No. 324]
Except as otherwise provided in this section, all developments that require site plan approval shall provide sidewalks/pathways as part of their site improvements as defined in the Pittsfield Chapter Township Engineering Standards. The Township Planning Commission, after considering a recommendation made by Department of Utilities and Municipal Services (the "Department") staff, may approve payment by the depositor to the Township's Sidewalk Reserve Fund in lieu of constructing sidewalks/pathways.
The Department shall make a recommendation to the Planning Commission whether to permit payment-in-lieu of sidewalk/pathway construction. Such a determination shall be made on the basis of the following criteria:
The frequency and volume of pedestrian traffic in the subject area;
Site features which make sidewalk/pathway installation and/or maintenance not feasible, including but not limited to poor soil, steep slopes, or proximity to wetlands;
Proximity to and connectivity with existing nonmotorized amenities.
A payment-in-lieu of sidewalk/pathway construction as permitted by this article shall be a sum of cash money deposited in the Township Sidewalk Reserve Fund account by the applicant. The amount of the deposit shall be, at minimum, equal to the estimated cost of construction of the sidewalk/pathway for which payment is being made in lieu of construction. The amount of the deposit shall be as determined by the engineer's estimate and approved by the Department of Utilities and Municipal Services and shall include any fees which the Township would require for the construction of the sidewalk/pathway.
The Sidewalk Reserve Fund account shall be administered by the Township Finance Department. All monies deposited in the account shall be reserved in that account and used only for the construction, repair and/or maintenance of public sidewalks, pathways and other nonmotorized amenities in the Township.
The Finance Department shall maintain a record of each deposit made, including the amount and date of deposit, the name of the depositor, name of the property owner, and the location of the property for which payment-in-lieu is being made.
In the event that the Township and the depositor agree after a payment-in-lieu of construction has been made that sidewalk/pathway will be constructed by the depositor, the deposit in question will be refunded or released to the depositor only upon completion of construction of the sidewalk/pathway. Such refund shall not include any interest which has accrued as a result of the deposit in question. The depositor may request a refund only within the first 90 days following the making of a deposit.
The Township shall not assess a property for which payment-in-lieu of sidewalk/pathway construction has been made at any future date for sidewalks/pathways for which the payment was made.
The Township may order the construction of public sidewalk, pathways or other nonmotorized amenities and pay for such with funds available in the Sidewalk Reserve Fund account, including on property for which payment-in-lieu of construction has been made.
Interest earned by the Sidewalk Reserve Fund account shall remain in the Sidewalk Reserve Fund account and shall not be credited to any third party or used for any purpose other than the purposes for which the Sidewalk Reserve Fund was established by the Township.
Where sidewalk defects creating pedestrian hazards are caused by conditions existing upon an abutting property, such as, but not limited to, trees or other growth, surface drainage, on-site construction or vehicular traffic, or other on-site activities, the abutting property owner shall be responsible for its repair, maintenance and/or safe condition, and liable for all consequential injuries, damages, expenses or costs resulting from the condition and lack of repair or maintenance and unsafe condition. Such liability shall include full indemnification of the Township for any damages, costs or expenses resulting from such owner defaults as well as liability to others. The foregoing liability and responsibility shall apply without notice or hearing.
Within 24 hours after the end of each accumulation of snow greater than one inch, the owner or occupant of every property shall remove the accumulation from the adjacent public sidewalk and walks and ramps leading to a crosswalk. The accumulation may be from any source, including precipitation and drifting. Furthermore, the removal of snow and ice shall mean: free of snow and ice for the entire constructed width and length of the sidewalk, including walks and ramps leading to a crosswalk.
If the owner or occupant fails to remove snow or ice within 24 hours of a notice of violation of § 28-10 having been served by attaching to the door, mailing by first class mail, or personal service, the Township may cause such snow or ice to be removed at the expense of the property owner. The owner of record shall then be charged the actual cost of the sidewalk clearance (time and material), plus an administrative fee as set forth in the Township fee schedule. All charges which remain unpaid as of October 1 of the current year shall become a lien against the subject property and may be added to the tax rolls for the property. One notice of violation per parcel per season shall be deemed adequate notice for the entire snow and ice removal season.
Except as provided in § 28-10B, written notice shall be given to the owner or occupant of the premises upon which a violation of § 28-6 or 28-9 has occurred specifying a reasonable period of time for correction and/or compliance. Upon failure to correct the violation in the specified period of time the violation shall become a municipal civil infraction subject to the penalties established in Chapter 2, Article V, Municipal Civil Infractions; Civil Fines and Penalties, of this Code. If the violation is deemed to be a threat to the health, safety or welfare of the public, the requirement for a written notice of the violation may be waived.