When will my sidewalks be inspected?

The City has been divided into 10 geographical areas and all sidewalks in one of the areas is inspected each year. In addition, if a complaint is received on the condition of a sidewalk, an inspection will be made. View an area map.

Is a permit required?

No, the notification letter is considered your construction permit and there are no permitting fees.

How much will the City charge to repair my sidewalk?

Because the City lets a new contract each year, the cost is not known. After the deadline, an inventory is made of who has and has not repaired their sidewalk. A list is compiled and a bid is solicited from contractors to repair those sidewalks. Depending on the lowest responsible bid received, the City will charge the property owner the costs incurred by the contractor plus a $25 administrative fee per property, not per square.

If the City repairs my sidewalk, what method of repair is done?

The City will only remove and replace sidewalk squares if the City takes charge of the repair work. Therefore, if you desire to utilize a repair option other than removal and replacement, you will need to arrange for the work.

What will happen if I can’t find a contractor to do the repair work. Is there a penalty?

If the repairs are not completed by the deadline stated in your notification letter, the City will take charge of the repair work and will invoice you the costs the City incurs plus a $25 administrative fee. There is no penalty for not completing the repairs by the deadline.

What is the $25 administrative fee for?

This fee is only charged if the City completes the sidewalk repair work. The fee helps to cover the costs the City incurs for bidding a contract, hiring a contractor, providing inspection of the repair work and other overhead costs associated with the sidewalk repairs.

If I have the City repair my sidewalk, will my property be assessed?

The City will first invoice the property owner for the costs incurred and will work with the property owner in making the payment. Only if the invoice is not paid will the property be assessed and added to property taxes.

How long will I have to complete the sidewalk repairs?

It would be appreciated if the repairs were completed as soon as possible in order to provide a safe passageway for pedestrians, however, deadlines are established and given in the notification letter. Typically, sidewalks marked as part of the inspection program are identified in the summer/fall with a deadline for completion of repairs the following May. If sidewalk is marked from a complaint, the deadline will either be May 15 or September 15, allowing for at least 30 days to complete the repair work. Please note that once the sidewalk has been removed, the repair work must be completed within two weeks.

Why are property owners responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalks?

Iowa State Code and City Ordinance have established that the maintenance and repair of sidewalks shall be the responsibility of the adjoining property owner. This is detailed in 2007 Iowa State Code Book (364.12(d)) and the City of Iowa City Code Book (14-1C-3(c)) and provides the City of Iowa City the ability to require an owner to repair sidewalk adjacent to their property.

I only want to be inconvenienced once, can I repair the sidewalk squares that are the City’s responsibility when I repair mine?

Depending on the reason the City is responsible for the repairs, it may be possible to repair all of them and be reimbursed by the City for the squares that were marked City responsible. Please call 319-356-5140 to receive prior approval to proceed and to receive prior approval on the cost.

Can I fix more squares than what is marked?

Absolutely. The City only marks the minimum number of squares to eliminate hazards. You may have additional squares that are in marginal condition that you may want to repair, or you may find it is in your best interest to replace entire segments of sidewalk rather than doing spot repairs.

Is there funding available to help pay for the repairs?

The City does not have any funds allocated to offset the costs that property owners will incur to repair their sidewalks.

Can the City recommend a contractor?

We do not recommend contractors as we are unable to favor any particular contractor. The City does not require that the contractors be licensed and therefore does not have an approved contractor list.

Do I have to hire a contractor or can I repair the sidewalk myself?

If you have the ability to complete the repairs to the City’s specifications, you may complete the repair work yourself. View the sidewalk repair specifications sheet. 

Will the City inspect the forms and grade?

The City does not require that the forms and grade be inspected. However, if you desire, an inspection can be made after the forms are set and prior to the concrete being poured if arrangements are made at least 24 hours in advance.

What are the acceptable methods to repair my sidewalk?

There are different acceptable methods of repair depending on the repair type marked on the inspection sheet. The sidewalk inspection report details repair types. The recommended method of repair is removal and replacement for all types, however, other options are as follows:

  • Types B1, C1, D1 and E1 must be removed and replaced. The City highly recommends doweling the new squares into the adjacent squares to prevent movement of the new squares. View the sidewalk repair specifications sheet.
  • Type B2 may be removed and replaced, or, mudjacked if the square is structurally sound and there are no cracks or missing pieces.
  • Type A may be removed and replaced, mudjacked or ground if the square is structurally sound and there are no cracks or missing pieces. For grinding, be sure to grind to a level surface at least 18” (more if elevation difference necessitates) back from vertical edge, creating a smooth, level transition from one panel to another.
  • Type C2 and D2 may be patched or sealed with an appropriate patching or sealing material.
  • Type E2 may be sealed with a sealant after removal of all vegetation/debris.

What do I do if the squares marked on my inspection form are actually adjacent to my neighbor’s property?

Call 319-356-5140 to let us know so that we may evaluate the location of the marked squares. If the square(s) is adjoining your neighbor’s property, they will need to receive the proper notification of the needed repairs.

I sold the property, should I call the City?

Yes, if you recently sold property the records may not have been updated at the Johnson County Recorder’s office yet. By notifying the City of the recent sale, we can make sure that the correct property owner is notified.

What if I disagree with the squares marked?

If you believe that the squares marked adjacent to your property do not meet the criteria established on the inspection form or that it would be preferable to repair the adjoining square, call 319-56-5140. A second opinion of the need for repairs may be requested at which time the City will have a different inspector look at the sidewalk and evaluate it for meeting the criteria.

I have seen other squares worse than mine, why weren’t they marked?

The City tries to be as fair and as consistent as possible when marking sidewalk squares for repair. If a complaint is received on a property, only that property and property in the immediate vicinity are inspected. If you believe we missed some sidewalk needing repair, or that there is sidewalk in another area of your neighborhood that is also needing repair work, call 319-356-5140 with the addresses to initiate inspections of those sidewalks.

When the repairs have been made, do I need to notify the City?

Notification is not necessary. The City will automatically re-inspect the sidewalks marked for repair after the deadline stated in your notification letter. If you would like to know if the repair work is satisfactory because you want to make sure your contractor performed acceptable work prior to paying them, you may ask the City to complete an early re-inspection.