Sidewalk Construction, Reconstruction and Repair
The construction, reconstruction and repair of sidewalks was, historically, the responsibility of adjacent property owners in Denver. In November 2022, a citizen-led ballot initiative approved by voters, known as Denver Deserves Sidewalks and Ordinance 307, shifted the responsibility of sidewalk construction and maintenance to the city and established a fee the city is to charge property owners to fund the sidewalk work.
Here’s a link to the full ordinance language.
NOTICE: In 2024, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) will begin charging property owners an annual fee to fund the construction, reconstruction and repair of sidewalks citywide.
The annual fee will be charged to property owners in conjunction with stormwater billing on a semi-annual basis (half-yearly). The charge is based on linear feet of property frontage and street type, with fees discounted by 20% for real property located in neighborhoods identified through the city's Neighborhood Equity & Stabilization (NEST) program.
When Will My Sidewalk Be Fixed?
Revenue received from new annual sidewalk charge will be placed in a special fund. Per Ordinance 307, the revenue is to be used to develop a master plan and near- and long-term strategy for a continuing program of sidewalk construction, reconstruction and repair.
DOTI will begin the master planning efforts in 2024 and will use the citywide implementation strategy to prioritize safety improvements across the city.
NEW: Estimate Your Annual Sidewalk Charge
Please note these rates are in effect for 2024. Any rate change would require a proposed amendment to current code and Denver City Council approval.
To use the lookup tool, click the search box and begin typing an address. Once you see your address of interest, click on it and the tool will update to show your estimated sidewalk charge for 2024.
The tool uses legal addresses from the assessor’s office, so directions (ex. N, S, E) are required.
For more help, here is a video demonstrating how to use this tool.
What if I can't find my address?
This tool uses parcels from our stormwater database, so all addresses that will receive a stormwater bill are included. It’s likely that you can’t find your address due to one of the following:
- The tool only uses legal addresses from the assessor’s office, and street directions (N, S, E, W) are required in the search tool.
- The primary address of the parcel is the only address included in the data. The address you are looking for may be located on the parcel, but not listed as the primary.
You can use the Denver real property site to confirm directionality of streets and a parcel’s primary address.
Why does my address show a $0 fee?
Some parcels do not have property frontage adjacent to public street(s), and will not receive a bill. Note that if a parcel with a $0 fee is part of a group billing account (such as an HOA), they may still receive a bill from another entity for a share of the account’s total fee.
Some parcels may show a $0 fee due to current technology limitations; Our geospatial tool to determine property frontage is continually being improved and we encourage you to check back.
How is the fee for sidewalk repair and maintenance determined?
The ordinance specifies that the city compute the sidewalk service charge by:
- First, determining the linear footage of the property frontage for the lot or parcel of real property
- Second, identifying the street type on which the lot or parcel is located
- Third, multiplying the sidewalk service charge per linear foot for the assigned street type
The ordinance uses street types developed in the Blueprint Denver plan to establish the following rates:
The ordinance discounts the annual fee per linear foot of property frontage by 20% for real property located in neighborhoods identified through the city’s Neighborhood Equity & Stabilization (NEST) program. The ordinance includes a caveat that if it becomes unfeasible to use the city’s NEST program to identify neighborhoods in which the annual fee per linear foot of property frontage should be discounted, the manager of transportation and infrastructure may direct that these neighborhoods be identified through alternate means.
Please note these rates that were included in the ordinance are being analyzed for their ability to meet the implementation time frames stated in the ordinance.
How does the city determine the linear footage?
The city is utilizing parcel data from the assessor’s office to calculate the linear frontage.
Why are there multiple sidewalk segments listed for my address on the look up tool/bill?
Each parcel will be charged per linear foot that borders a street. For example, if you live on a corner lot, you will see segments from each side of the property on the lookup tool/bill. This applies regardless of if a parcel borders a street on the front, side, or back.
What if I don't have a sidewalk?
The requirement to pay the sidewalk fee is not dependent upon having a sidewalk or whether or not a property owner has recently completed sidewalk installation or repairs. The purpose of the fee, as stated in the ordinance passed by voters, is to implement a sustainable program for the construction, reconstruction and ongoing repairs of sidewalks citywide and promote the general public health, safety and welfare by assuring that sidewalks are accessible and safely maintained for all sidewalk users.
What if I've already repaired my sidewalk and it is in good condition?
The requirement to pay the sidewalk fee is not dependent upon having a sidewalk or whether or not a property owner has recently completed installation or repairs. The fee is a revenue source to fund maintenance and repair projects and new sidewalk installations to connect people to places and services citywide. Therefore, the city will not be issuing any refunds or exemptions from this fee.
My sidewalk was repaired during the Neighborhood Sidewalk Repair Program (NSRP), am I required to pay this fee?
Yes, the sidewalk fee is still required. The fee is a revenue source to fund maintenance and repair projects and new sidewalk installations to connect people to places and services citywide.
What happens if I have an HOA?
The sidewalk fee will be issued in conjunction with Denver stormwater billing in 2024, so if your HOA receives your stormwater bill and pays it on your behalf, check with your HOA to see how it plans to handle the sidewalk fee.
What were some of the stated purposes of the sidewalk ballot initiative?
Among other ideas, the ordinance outlined these stated purposes:
- To promote the general public health, safety and welfare by assuring that sidewalks are accessible and safely maintained for all sidewalk users
- To provide for the establishment of a sidewalk master plan and maintenance program for effectively identifying sidewalks in need of construction, reconstruction and repair and developing a comprehensive program for sidewalk construction, reconstruction and repair
- To establish a reasonable sidewalk service charge for construction, reconstruction and repair of sidewalks computed on a basis of the use made of, and the need for, and the service provided by, sidewalks in the city
What should the required sidewalk master plan accomplish?
The ordinance states, among other things, that the sidewalk master plan shall set forth the location, width and state of repair of all sidewalks within the city, as well as the location of all lots and parcels of real property in the city where there are currently no sidewalks. It will also address the implementation of the initial capital investment plan as well as a long-term strategy for a continuing program of maintenance, repair, and/or reconstruction of city sidewalks as needed and over time.
What about my flagstone sidewalk?
The ordinance states that the sidewalk master plan shall require sidewalks to be constructed, reconstructed and repaired to the minimum standard sidewalk widths identified in the city’s Complete Streets Guidelines for the type of street on which the sidewalk is located, unless the manager of transportation and infrastructure determines doing so is not reasonable or feasible.
The ordinance also states that the sidewalk master plan shall consider and direct the implementation of strategies to preserve flagstone sidewalks where the existing materials are substantially intact and it is possible to do so while still satisfying sidewalk master plan priorities and meeting sidewalk construction and condition standards.
What happens if I do not pay?
Ordinance 307 authorizes the City to place a lien on properties that are delinquent in the payment of fees.
Will a widened or newly installed sidewalk increase my stormwater bill?
Sidewalks installed or widened by the Denver Sidewalk Program will not increase billable impervious surface on your stormwater bill as public-use sidewalks are not chargeable.
Am I required to shovel/clear my sidewalk of snow?
Yes. Ordinance 307 does not relieve property owners of the snow clearing responsibility.