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Denver Ordinance 307: Sidewalks and

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Walking through Denver's neighborhoods, you may have noticed that some sidewalks are in better condition than others. It can be a shock, to see well-developed landscapes only complicated by walkways that literally fall apart around them. This is due to the fact that sidewalk maintenance used to be the responsibility of the homeowner. The quality and upkeep of the sidewalks varied greatly and there was little enforcement for owners to replace them. The only time a homeowner would have to replace their sidewalk was when they were making improvements to their home, such as a remodel or new construction. However, this process often resulted in unexpected costs and complications for homeowners. Denver’s Right-of-Way or ROW department backloads a project requirement to the construction which lets them withhold the completion of a project until property owners complete the sidewalk improvements. However, that has recently changed with Denver’s Ordinance 307 which has the city take over the responsibility of maintaining sidewalks from property owners.

What is Denver’s new Ordinance?

The official language for the ballot measure ordinance 307 states:

Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance to create a sidewalk master plan and to implement a sustainable program for the construction, reconstruction, and ongoing repairs of sidewalks citywide; to fund the program by charging a fee to property owners; to create a sidewalk enterprise within the definition of Section 20, Article X, of the Colorado Constitution, with the authority to issue revenue bonds payable solely from the fees collected under this program and without further voter approval; and to remove the adjacent property owner’s current responsibility for sidewalk repair and reconstruction and place such responsibility on the City?

The passage of Ordinance 307 has now transferred the responsibility of Denver's sidewalks to the city. This ballot measure was approved by 55.85% of voters and will result in a fee schedule for homeowners based on the square footage of the sidewalk around their homes. The average cost per year for homeowners will be $107, according to Denver Streets Partnership.

What Does This Mean for landscaping and landscape development?

If you're a Denver resident currently in the process of building a new landscape or landscape development, you will not have to pay for sidewalk improvements. Previously, there was a high chance that the Right-of-Way would require the homeowner to pay for sidewalk improvements near the end of the project, which could be a surprise addition to the scope of work. With the passage of Ordinance 307, homeowners will no longer have to worry about these unexpected costs. Sustainable Design Build, which has warned clients about the potential for requirements imposed by the Right-of-Way, now expects homeowners to benefit from the newly enacted ordinance, saving them money on their construction projects.

If you are interested in installing a new landscape feature or building new construction with a need for a landscape engineer, contact Vista Landscape Development for a free consultation. Vista Landscape Development can provide up-to-date solutions and recommendations that will last through the seasons.

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