Orinda's Privately Maintained Streets

There are 30 miles of privately-maintained streets in Orinda in addition to the 64 miles of publicly-maintained residential streets. These streets are not gated enclaves but, for the most part, cul-de-sacs indistinguishable from the adjacent publicly maintained ones. 1,500 families live on these streets; about 20 percent of Orinda.

The creation of this separate class of street was not the doing of the developers of these streets or of the taxpayers who live on them.  It was the result of the City, and before incorporation the County, being unwilling to pay to maintain these streets while collecting the same property taxes from the new homes as everyone else pays.

Since 2012 Orinda voters have voted in $70 million of new taxes, payable over 20 years, to repair the 64 miles of public residential streets which the City had let deteriorate.  The 1,500 homes that are on “private” streets will pay their “fair” share of these taxes; $15 million in total.  Not one cent of these taxes will go to repair any of the 30 miles of “private” streets these taxpayers live on.

This inequity creates a division in Orinda. The latest draft of the CIOC’s Road Plan informs the City that it will have to raise an additional $2.5 million per year to maintain the public roads it has spent so much to repair.  EVERYONE will be expected to pay for this additionally needed tax.  But, again, not one cent of it will be used to maintain any of the 30 miles of streets that 20 percent of Orinda lives on.  This is not fair and, if those 20 percent reject the tax, the City will not obtain sufficient funds to maintain the existing public roads.

On March 20, 2018 the City Council will address the issue of public maintenace of "private" streets.  We hope residents and taxpayers living on those streets will join in the discussion.  The Private Street Equity Group has created a report for the City which you can download here.

A Tale of Two Cities

Some basic facts about Orinda’s private streets (see details):

* There are 204 privately-maintained streets in Orinda.

* These streets have an aggregate length of 30 miles. With 64 miles of publicly-maintained residential streets in Orinda, the privately-maintained streets comprise over 30 percent of Orinda’s residential streets.

* While most of the privately-maintained streets are cul de sacs and only six of the 203 have more than 20 homes on them, these are not “private driveways” as many assume.

     - 157 of the 203 "private" streets have ten or fewer homes but this is comparable to the 133 publicly-maintained streets which also have ten or fewer homes.

     * Currently there are 1,350 families living on privately-maintained streets in Orinda. This represents 20 percent of the 6,850 total private residences in Orinda. When Wilder builds out (another 150 homes), there will be 1,500 families living on private streets.

* The City receives about $1 million of tax revenue annually from the State and County to help maintain its streets.  By not including the 30 miles of private streets in the mix, the City is walking away from up to $300,000 of tax dollars we have already paid for each year.

* None of the residents living on these streets requested that they be privately maintained.  When they were formed, the County and then the City decided which street would be publicly maintained and which would not.  These streets are "private" only to the extent that they do not receive public funds for maintenance.

* There is virtually no difference between Orinda's privately maintained streets and its publicly maintained streets other than who pays for the maintenance. See the comparison between the two with a few examples.

* See Frequently Asked Questions about Orinda's private streets or if you have further questions, contact us.