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Public Works Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below you'll find answers to many of the questions we are asked on a regular basis.  If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact us.
Does the City offer Mediation Services?
How can disability access complaints be filed?
What is the purpose of the disability access complaint procedure?
What state laws and regulations govern accessibility?
Who may file a disability access complaint?
When should a disability access complaint be filed?
Is assistance in filing disability access complaints available?
What happens after a disability access complaint is filed?
How will the complainant be informed of the status of the disability access complaint?
What if I see something dumped into a creek?
What if I see a fallen tree or limbs?
Who keeps the trees trimmed?
When does an obstruction in the road become a road closure?
Am I allowed to close a road?
Am I allowed build a fence in the right-of-way?
What does Public Works look for in fence design?
Is there a policy regarding block parties or special events?
I am having trouble finding space to keep the three garbage cans we are required to have. Can I keep them out near the road?
I have noticed streetlight on my street is not working properly. How can I get it fixed?
There is a parking space in front of my house that is off the paved roadway. Is this my private parking space or is it public?
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Q: Does the City offer Mediation Services?
A:

Mediation thumbnailLooking for Mediation Services?  The City of Mill Valley participates in the County of Marin Mediation Services Program to offer mediation services to residents of the City of Mill Valley. Click here to learn more.

 

Q: How can disability access complaints be filed?
A:

There are several methods to submit a complaint:

Persons may also use the 711 Relay System to request complaint forms. When describing the alleged violation, additional documentation such as photographs also would be very helpful. Complaints must be filed with the ADA Coordinator:

Dan Martin, Building Official
Mill Valley Building Department, City Hall
26 Corte Madera Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941 Phone: (415) 388-4033 (TTY 711)
Fax: (415) 381-1736
Email: dmartin@cityofmillvalley.org

 

Q: What is the purpose of the disability access complaint procedure?
A:

The purpose of this procedure is to provide individuals with a convenient method to report disability access law violations in Mill Valley, and to establish a process for resolving as promptly as possible alleged violations of state disabled access regulations in either (i) buildings, -structures, sidewalks, curbs and related facilities that are owned or leased by the City of Mill Valley or that are constructed or altered with city funds ("public projects"), or (ii) privately owned public accommodations (i.e., businesses that are open to the public) that are not publicly funded ("private projects").

 

Q: What state laws and regulations govern accessibility?
A:

State law requires all public and private projects to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. See Cal. Government Code 4450 et seq. for public projects and Cal. Health and Safety Code 19955 et seq. for private projects. The State Architect has issued specifications for the construction or alteration of buildings and structures in the State Building Code, which is published as part of the California Building Code and which is often referred to as "Title 24" reflecting where it was formerly located in the California Code of Regulations, Under state law, the City is responsible for complying with Title 24 in its public projects and for enforcing the Title 24 requirements in private projects that are subject to the City's jurisdiction through the City's building permit and building inspection programs. For certain projects built before the first version of Title 24 was adopted in 1981, the applicable standards are the 1961 American Standards Association Standard (the "ASA Standards"). In addition, California Civil Code Sections 54 and 54.1 require that persons with disabilities have equal access to accommodations available to the public, and make a violation of the federal Americans with Disability Act also a violation of state law. For a detailed description of these state laws and regulations, please see Exhibit A. For the purposes of this Procedure, all of the above-referenced laws and regulations shall be referred to as the "Law."

 

Q: Who may file a disability access complaint?
A:

Anyone who believes that a public or private project does not comply with the law because it contains deviations from the specifications set forth in the law may file a complaint under this procedure. An authorized representative of such a person may also file a complaint on the complainant's behalf. To the extent authorized by law, the identity of the complainant will be kept confidential.

 

Q: When should a disability access complaint be filed?
A:

Complaints should be filed as quickly as possible when alleged deviations are discovered so that they can be investigated and promptly resolved prior to completion of the construction work if possible.


 

Q: Is assistance in filing disability access complaints available?
A:

Persons with disabilities or others needing assistance should contact the following to request an appointment:

Dan Martin, Building Official
Planning and Building Department
City of Mill Valley 
26 Corte Madera Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Telephone (415) 388-4033 (TTY 771)
Fax (415) 381-1736
Email: dmartin@cityofmillvalley.org

 

Q: What happens after a disability access complaint is filed?
A:

After receiving a complaint, the Building Official or his/her designee will investigate all allegations within fourteen (14) days of receiving the complaint. The investigation will include interviews with: (a) the complainant; (b) the business owner, if a Private Project, or the responsible City Department or other public agency, if a Public Project; and (c) any other person the Building Official believes to have relevant knowledge concerning the complaint.

The Building Official also will consider any written or photographic evidence that is provided. After completing the investigation, the Building Official will review the factual information gathered through the investigation to determine whether the allegation is in fact a deviation from the Law. For Public Projects undertaken by the City, the City shall then take all actions necessary to correct any deviation from the Law which it confirms as a result of any investigation within ninety (90) days ofthe confirmation of such deviation, unless the deviation or deviations are so substantial that that they cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days of confirmation. In such circumstances, a specific timetable shall be prepared to assure that the deviations will be corrected within a reasonable period of time.

For Public Projects of other public entities, the City will forward the complaint to the appropriate state or federal agency. These agencies will process the complaint in accordance with their own regulations and procedures.

For Private Projects, the City shall send the responsible party and/or owner a written notice of violation demanding that the deviation be corrected within ninety (90) days of the confirmation of such deviation, unless the deviation or deviations are so substantial that that they cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days of confirmation. In such circumstances, a specific timetable will be prepared to assure that the deviations will be corrected within a reasonable period of time. If the responsible party and/or owner does not correct the deviation within ninety (90) days, commence to correct it if it is of such magnitude that it cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days, or comply with the timetable prepared by the City for correcting the deviation, the City shall refer the matter to the City Attorney for appropriate legal action.

 

Q: How will the complainant be informed of the status of the disability access complaint?
A:

Within seven (7) days of receipt of each complaint, the City shall send a letter to the complainant confirming receipt of the complaint, along with a timetable and a description of the process that will be used by the City in investigating the complaint and preparing a response.

After completion of the investigation, the City shall provide the complainant with another letter advising the complainant of the resolution of the complaint, including informing the complainant about his or her right of appeal. Where the City determines that any or all of the violations alleged in a complaint are unfounded, the City's letter shall include the factual and legal basis for such determination. In addition, upon completion of the corrections of the deviations where required, the Compliance Officer will then notify the complainant in writing of the completion of the remedial work. Also, the complainant will be notified if the matter is referred to the City Attorney for appropriate legal action.

 

Q: What if I see something dumped into a creek?
A:

Contact the Department of Public Works as soon as possible. If it is after hours, call the Dispatch Center at 389-4100.

 

Q: What if I see a fallen tree or limbs?
A:

If the tree is within the city limits of Mill Valley and is on City property you should contact the Mill Valley Parks & Recreation department @ 415-383-1370 with the location of the tree or limbs.

If the tree is within city limits and is blocking a public right of way or roadway contact the Mill Valley Parks & Recreation department @ 415-383-1370 (M-F 9am-5pm) and after hours call the Mill Valley Police Department @ 415-389-4100 with the location of the tree or limbs.

If the tree is on private property and has fallen onto private property contact the property owner.

If the tree is touching electrical wires contact PG&E 800-743-500 or the Mill Valley Fire Department at 389-4130.

If the tree is outside of the city limits, but is on county property contact County of Marin Public Works @ 415-499-7877.

 

Q: Who keeps the trees trimmed?
A:

Tree maintenance is the responsibility of the Parks Department (388-4242).

 

Q: When does an obstruction in the road become a road closure?
A:

The City requires eleven feet of roadway to be kept clear and passable. This is to allow for the free passage of emergency vehicles such as fire engines or ambulances. Leaving less than eleven feet open constitutes a closed road and requires a Road Closure Permit.


 

Q: Am I allowed to close a road?
A:

The City allows most roads to be closed for the staging of large equipment for construction or tree work. If you think you need to close a road, contact the Department of Public Works at least 48 hours before the proposed closure. There is a procedure to follow and a $70 fee. Access for emergency services must be maintained. Dead end streets and some busy streets may not be closed. Two closures on one street will not be allowed if this creates an area with no outlets. Overnight closures are not allowed. The City does not allow the closure of roads for the staging of moving vans. Streets may be closed for block parties. For information on staging a block party, see the City’s Event Policy.

 

Q: Am I allowed build a fence in the right-of-way?
A:

Fences are allowed to be built in the right-of-way under certain conditions. There has to be a necessary reason why the fence can’t be located on the property line. The right-of-way is for public use and fencing to expand yard size is prohibited. Given the City’s hilly topography, fences sometimes need to be placed in the right-of-way to accomplish their purpose. Fences are not allowed to be placed closer than three feet from the edge of the road. This allows for a recovery area for pedestrians. Gates are not allowed to swing over a road or sidewalk.

Fences or other surface improvements are not allowed within the Steps, Lanes and Paths throughout the City. Fences require an Encroachment Permit from DPW as well as fence permits from the Planning Department.

 

Q: What does Public Works look for in fence design?
A:

The most important factor for Public Works is how a fence hinders visibility. Tall, solid fences can block visibility for a car exiting a property. This is especially important in areas that have sidewalks. With a tall solid fence, a car backing out of a driveway and a child on a bicycle on the sidewalk will not be able to see each other until it is too late. With the varied terrain and irregularly shaped lots in Mill Valley, the amount of sight distance necessary to be preserved is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, if you are submitting a fence application near a driveway or a road, it is suggested you start with a design that limits the fence height to 30 inches within a 10-foot triangular area on either side of the driveway or road.

 

Q: Is there a policy regarding block parties or special events?
A:

Yes, see the City’s Events Policy.

 

Q: I am having trouble finding space to keep the three garbage cans we are required to have. Can I keep them out near the road?
A:

The Municipal Code allows for the storage of garbage cans in places where they will not be a public nuisance or in any degree offensive. While this does not exclude garbage cans from the right-of-way, the City prohibits the construction of pads or enclosures for garbage cans in the right-of-way.

 

Q: I have noticed streetlight on my street is not working properly. How can I get it fixed?
A:

You should call the Department of Public works at 388-4033 to report a problem with streetlights. When reporting streetlight problems you will be asked for the location of the pole and a pole number. The numbers are typically three digits long followed by a letter. You will also be asked for type of problem with the light. The three main problems with streetlights are being burned out, staying on during the day and blinking on and off which is called cycling.

 

Q: There is a parking space in front of my house that is off the paved roadway. Is this my private parking space or is it public?
A:

The road rights-of-way in Mill Valley are typically 40 or 50 feet wide, while the paved roads are less than that. So a parking space may be off the pavement, but still in the right-of-way. The policy is that if a parking space is at least 50% in the right-of-way it is considered a public space and is available to anyone on a first come-first serve basis. If you pay to create a parking space more than 50% in the right-of-way it is still a public space even though you have paid for it. Any new parking spaces that may be created must be wide enough to hold a car completely off the paved roadway.

 

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