In January Orinda is planning on conducting a survey of 400 residents on what their opinion is of extending (and doubling) the half cent sales tax.
Included in the survey are questions about the 30 miles of roads which the City has never adopted as public roads. These roads provide access to 1,550 Orinda homes; over 20% of Orinda. Most of these roads are small cul de sacs, indistinguishable from the 30 miles of cul de sacs and loop streets which are publicly maintained and define the very nature of Orinda’s semi-rural neighborhoods.
The survey identifies these roads as Private Roads. Currently they are privately owned and maintained but most of them are open for public use with no gates or signs restricting access. If they were publicly maintained, they would either become public (land given to the City) or they would legally grant public access. This fact is not made clear in the survey.
100 years ago all of Orinda was private. As roads were developed they were adopted by the County as public and then publicly maintained. At least most of them were. 25 miles of them were left out, mostly for reasons unknown. Recently, another five miles (Wilder and Orinda Grove) were also “left out” but the reason was very clear: The City looked forward to the increased property tax revenue the new properties would provide but did not want to pay to maintain the new roads. And a condition for development was that they were required to provide public access.
The survey asks if these roads should now be integrated into the community. If these streets are willing to provide public access to anyone who wants to use them, as most of them already do, should they be considered part of the community and be maintained by the community? Or should the residents of these roads be excluded from receiving the public benefits their neighbors receive, while paying for them?
The annotated copy of the survey below and available for download above clarifies this. Hopefully, this will clear up any confusion the questions could present. Please forward this to friends and neighbors who may be called on to respond to the survey. For more information about this issue look at the Private Streets section of this website or contact us.