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Orinda Private Street Policy

Orinda has had a policy for private streets since 1990 (Resolution 56-90).  However, it is an unworkable policy.  Since it was put in place, no private street has become public. 


The closest any street has become as being accepted as a public street, and thus being maintained with public funds, was a maintenance agreement between the Orindawoods HOA and the City where in exchange for granting public access on three streets, the City agreed to maintain those three streets.  These streets do not lead to any public building or other facility, they "simply" provide public access to private Orindawoods homes (as do the other 63 miles of public residential streets).  But it has been confirmed that this provides a public benefit and thus public tax dollars can be used to maintain these streets.

In 2018 the Council asked staff to review this policy.  Staff came back with a revision, Resolution 59-18.  The only substantive change made to the previous resolution was the addition of one more constraint, the exclusion of any street maintained by and HOA. Currently, there are 59 such streets providing access to 645 Orinda homes.  The warped logic of why they do not deserve to be considered public streets is that their HOAs already "provide" maintenance so why should the property owners on those streets expect their tax dollars to be used for road maintenance when their HOA fees are already covering that cost. This resolution was passed with a 3-1 vote with only Council Member Gee, a professional transportation engineer, opposing.  Council Member Phillips recused herself because she lived on a private street which meant she could not opine on her own fate.

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