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Sidewalk Installation Frequently Asked Questions

Will there be any cost to property owners for sidewalk installation?
Yes, if the Town Board orders the installation of sidewalks, property owners must pay for the installation privately.

Will I be paid for right-of-way that the Town needs to do these improvements?
No.  If right-of-way is insufficient, the additional land must be donated by the adjacent land-owner.  The Town may also pursue public sidewalk easements.  

How long do I have to comply with my sidewalk installation?
The compliance date will be noted in a letter sent by the Town Clerk shortly after Town Board approval of the installation. 

Can the Town recommend a private contractor that will do the work?
No, but we understand that sometimes it can be difficult to have a contractor respond to your phone calls or provide a quote.  A list of contractors is on file at the Town’s Engineering Department and can be requested by calling 631-7154.  It is in your best interest to obtain multiple quotes and make sure the contractor you select is fully insured, can provide references, and is willing to sign a contract for the work.

What if I fail to install a sidewalk after I receive an official notice?
The Town of Amherst will arrange to have sidewalk installed by an independent contractor and the total cost will be added to your tax bill.  The cost is normally higher than if you were entered into a contract with a private contractor.

Will my property taxes increase due to these improvements?
Property taxes will not increase directly due to improvements to the street within the Town’s right-of-way.  If the Town installs the sidewalks, those costs may be applied to tax bills for affected properties.

What happens to mailboxes that are in the way of the proposed sidewalk?
Mailboxes must be relocated by the property owner or contractor as part of the installation project.

What happens to trees, shrubs or landscaping that are in the way of the proposed sidewalk?
If in the right-of-way, they must be moved to accommodate the sidewalk.  If nearby trees have low-hanging branches, per Town Code, they must be trimmed to a height of 8’ high above the new sidewalk.

Will I be required to maintain and clear snow on the public sidewalks?
Yes, according to the requirements of Chapters 83 and 151 of the Code of the Town of Amherst (Property Maintenance)

What is Chapter 151 of the Town Code?
Section 151-60C – Sidewalks and driveways, all sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas, shall be kept in a proper state of repair and maintained free from hazardous conditions.

How does the Town determine where sidewalk is to be installed?
Typically, the sidewalk installation locations are specifically requested by a petitioner who meets the criteria to request a sidewalk installation.  Then, various Town departments review the request and prepare a report that is reviewed by the Town Sidewalk Technical Review Committee and the Town Board.

Why are Town residents responsible for sidewalk repair?
Section 83-9-5 of Chapter 83 of the Code of the Town of Amherst (Building Construction Administration) provides the owner’s responsibilities for sidewalk maintenance.

Section 151-60C of the Code of the Town of Amherst (Property Maintenance) also requires that property owners are responsible for sidewalk repairs.

Section 302.3 of the Property Maintenance Code of New York State also applies to sidewalks and driveways.

Who determines whether sidewalks are in need of repair?
Building Department inspectors enforce the Town Code in response to complaints within a specific area.  Inspectors mark sidewalks that are safety / tripping hazards to pedestrians. 

How do I interpret the sidewalk markings?
If markings have been provided on the public sidewalk associated with your property, an “R” means that the section of sidewalk needs to be repaired or replaced.  A horizontal line drawn on the tripping hazard means that you can provide an acceptable filler.

Who do I contact to question the sidewalk markings?
Call the Amherst Building Department @ 716-631-7080 (between 8 and 10am is recommended).

How long do I have to comply with my sidewalk repair?
The compliance date will be noted in the letter sent by the Building Department shortly after inspection.  The time period indicated will depend on a number of factors such as the level of hazard and weather conditions.

What if I have difficulty completing the required repairs by the compliance date?
Contact the Building Department for a possible extension of the compliance date.

What if I fail to repair my sidewalk after I receive an official notice?
Failure to comply will result in further enforcement action by the Town of Amherst.  The Town may arrange to have the violations corrected either by Town of Amherst or an independent contractor hired by the town.  The cost of the repair will be added to the property taxes.  In addition, the Town may serve you with an appearance ticket if you do not perform the required work. 

What if a “town” tree damages my sidewalk?
The repairs are still required by the adjacent parcel owner. The Town’s Highway Department, upon request, can grind the tree roots or determine if the tree can be
removed.

How can we arrange to have our tree roots removed?
Call the Highway Department, Forestry Division at 631-7117.  You must follow Highway Department guidelines and provide at least five working days notice for this service.

Can my hired contractor repair more sidewalk blocks than what is marked?
Yes.

About Amherst

The Town of Amherst was established in 1818 and celebrated its 200th Anniversary in 2018. The town has a geographical area of 53.6 square miles and a population of greater than 122,000. Amherst community videos.

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The Town of Amherst ADA Coordinators are Robert McCarthy (Director of Human Resources) and Mark Berke (Commissioner of Buildings).

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  • Williamsville, NY 14221