Douglas Considers Making Some Private Roads Public
Some residents of Douglas who reside within private condo associations may find Monday’s Douglas City Council proposal welcoming news.
The council approved the first reading of an ordinance that lays out the rules and procedures concerning how the city is accept private roads into the public street network.
“Not all private roads out there would be eligible to become public roads,” Douglas Community Development Director Ryan Kilpatrick told council during discussion.
The new ordinance would allow the city to address, to a certain degree, the problem of not being allowed by statute to use public funds to improve, maintain or repair private streets as some individuals in condo associations have requested.
“This is one of those issues where we are darned if we do, darned if we don’t,” said Douglas Council Member Diane Bailey.
The council is expected to pass the second and final reading of the ordinance at the next council meeting in two weeks.
Once a private road becomes public, the city would treat it as any other public road, said Kilpatrick.
He further assured the council that the city would not incur greater liability than any other road currently in the public system.
However, he noted, “A special assessment would be applied (to the property owners with property fronting the street) to cover the cost associated with bringing the private road to public standard.
“The city would be responsible for long-term maintenance,” he added.
The application to move into public-from-private roads must be accompanied by an accurate and up-to-date cost estimate for all proposed improvements and a signed statement from at least 60% of the property owners having direct access to the private street.
Among the requirements in order to become public, the street must have:
* a right-of-way with a minimum width of 66 feet;
* a residential street must be serviced by adequate sewer and water utilities;
* a street serving more than 10 residential units must have a minimum of a five-foot sidewalk on at least one side of the street;
* and for a street serving 24 homes, the city may require sidewalks on both sides of the street.