Designing how an urban home meets the street is an important part of what we do here at Clark Richardson Architects and a big part of that intersection is the choice to build or not to build a pedestrian sidewalk in front of your home. In 2008, City of Austin passed an ordinance requiring that any new residential home, or expansion of a home over 50% of its existing square footage must be in compliance with the City’s sidewalk ordinance. Per CoA, There are three avenues of compliance outlined below : sidewalk construction, fee in-lieu, or a waiver (from the fee and construction).
1) If you’d like to build the sidewalk simply depict its location on your residential plan review and a DS, or driveway-sidewalk permit, will be generated with the approved building permit. The sidewalk should be 4’ wide, 2 feet off the property line within the right of way. The person who does the work must be licensed and bonded to work in the City’s right-of-way. The permit is issued at 3701 Lake Austin Blvd between the hours of 9 am and 1 pm.
2) If you do not wish to install a sidewalk, you may qualify to pay into the sidewalk fund if your site:
a)is on a block where less than 50% of the lots have a sidewalk, b)is in a subdivision that does include a sidewalk requirement, and c)does not contain more than two residential units.
The sidewalk fee is $7.50/sq ft of sidewalk (a 4′ walk minus the driveway). Please note that the fund is used to install sidewalks within the neighborhood which the house is located, but not necessarily in front of the house itself. The funds will be used to implement the adopted neighborhood plan, the City Pedestrian Master Plan, and to make connections to places such as schools, parks, transit, and the like. If the money is not used within ten years, it can be refunded to you at your request.
3) A third option, a sidewalk waiver, relieves a site from installation and the sidewalk fee. In order to qualify for a sidewalk waiver:
a) The site cannot be in an approved neighborhood plan where sidewalks have been identified for installation/upgrade.b) The street cannot rank high on the City’s Pedestrian Master Plan.c) The site must be 1/2 mile away from any pedestrian generating use: a church, bus route, bus stop, school (public or private), park, community center, non-residential uses.d) The site’s land use and density should not be conducive to pedestrian access.