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Public Works Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below you'll find answers to many of the questions we are asked on a regular basis.  If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact us.
How do I comment on or ask a question about traffic?
Why don’t you schedule overnight work for construction at busy intersections?
Can we make two right turns from Camino Alto onto East Blithedale?
How can I stay informed about traffic issues?
Can I flush my pool water onto the ground or down a storm drain?
Does the City offer Mediation Services?
How can disability access complaints be filed?
What is the purpose of the disability access complaint procedure?
What state laws and regulations govern accessibility?
Who may file a disability access complaint?
When should a disability access complaint be filed?
Is assistance in filing disability access complaints available?
What happens after a disability access complaint is filed?
How will the complainant be informed of the status of the disability access complaint?
What if I see something dumped into a creek?
What if I see a fallen tree or limbs?
Who keeps the trees trimmed?
When does an obstruction in the road become a road closure?
Am I allowed to close a road?
Am I allowed build a fence in the right-of-way?
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Q: How do I comment on or ask a question about traffic?
A:

If you have recently experienced a particular problem, please fill out this form.

If you have a question about traffic, please contact the Department of Public Works:

Phone: (415) 384-4800
Main email: publicworks@cityofmillvalley.org

 

Q: Why don’t you schedule overnight work for construction at busy intersections?
A:

We evaluate the noise and other disturbances related to the construction project and then assess the proximity of residential neighborhoods. If the project is close to residential neighborhoods, such as the recent work on East Blithedale and Camino Alto, then night work is not an option.

 

Q: Can we make two right turns from Camino Alto onto East Blithedale?
A:

At times of heavy traffic volumes, a second right turn lane from Camino Alto to East Blithedale would not help to move traffic along, as the bottleneck in the corridor starts at the Highway 101 overpass where competing traffic flows converge and cause traffic to back-up to Camino Alto and beyond.

Our traffic engineer has looked at several alternatives to help move Camino Alto traffic onto East Blithedale, and the preferred alternative is to eliminate the U-turn on westbound East Blithedale at Camino Alto, so that the right-turn green arrow can be turned on when East Blithedale is turning left onto Camino Alto. Right now, when that is happening, the right turning vehicles have a red light, and thus, need to come to a complete stop before turning. With the left-turn overlap (as it’s called), the right turners will get a green arrow, and thus move more quickly onto East Blithedale. This idea will be implemented in the next few weeks.


 

Q: How can I stay informed about traffic issues?
A:

mvtraffic.org thumbnailGet Updates on Current and Upcoming Traffic Conditions in Mill Valley 

  • www.mvtraffic.org: The City of Mill Valley has launched mvtraffic.org to give you a central location for local traffic conditions and updates about local traffic.

    The website includes a local map showing current conditions (via Google traffic), timely updates from the Police Department's Twitter account, and news about events or projects that are impacting traffic in town.

    Visit mvtraffic.org and bookmark the site on your mobile device.

  • Twitter: Follow the Mill Valley Police Department and City of Mill Valley on Twitter. Police Officers are often first to know about traffic issues and they tweet alerts to the community.

  • Nextdoor: Sign up for Nextdoor. Nextdoor is a private neighborhood website where residents share information such as neighborhood public safety issues, community events and activities, local services, and referrals. The City has the ability to send urgent messages to all subscribers.

  • Sign up for eNews: eNews is sent directly to your email inbox with information about news and events of importance to you. Enter your email address and select "Traffic Conditions and Road Closures."

 

Q: Can I flush my pool water onto the ground or down a storm drain?
A:

The City of Mill Valley urges residents to work with pool service providers that commit to flushing pool water into the sewer system instead of into the ground or down the storm drain.

Because many of us swim in chlorinated water at relatively high concentrations, we often don’t fully understand the toxicity of chlorine on the natural habitat that surrounds us. It’s quite simple: the concentration of sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) in pool water is high enough to pollute a body of water 10 to 100 times its size if sent to the storm drain.

Because every storm drain in the City of Mill Valley empties into a sensitive natural body of water, such as a creek or wetland, introducing chlorine into those creeks and wetlands kills fish and frogs and the aquatic bugs they feed on.

City officials urge residents not to hire a pool service company that is unwilling to flush pool water into the sewer system.

 

Q: Does the City offer Mediation Services?
A:

Mediation thumbnailLooking for Mediation Services?  The City of Mill Valley participates in the County of Marin Mediation Services Program to offer mediation services to residents of the City of Mill Valley. Click here to learn more.

 

Q: How can disability access complaints be filed?
A:

There are several methods to submit a complaint:

Persons may also use the 711 Relay System to request complaint forms. When describing the alleged violation, additional documentation such as photographs also would be very helpful. Complaints must be filed with the ADA Coordinator:

Dan Martin, Building Official
Mill Valley Building Department, City Hall
26 Corte Madera Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941 Phone: (415) 388-4033 (TTY 711)
Fax: (415) 381-1736
Email: dmartin@cityofmillvalley.org

 

Q: What is the purpose of the disability access complaint procedure?
A:

The purpose of this procedure is to provide individuals with a convenient method to report disability access law violations in Mill Valley, and to establish a process for resolving as promptly as possible alleged violations of state disabled access regulations in either (i) buildings, -structures, sidewalks, curbs and related facilities that are owned or leased by the City of Mill Valley or that are constructed or altered with city funds ("public projects"), or (ii) privately owned public accommodations (i.e., businesses that are open to the public) that are not publicly funded ("private projects").

 

Q: What state laws and regulations govern accessibility?
A:

State law requires all public and private projects to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. See Cal. Government Code 4450 et seq. for public projects and Cal. Health and Safety Code 19955 et seq. for private projects. The State Architect has issued specifications for the construction or alteration of buildings and structures in the State Building Code, which is published as part of the California Building Code and which is often referred to as "Title 24" reflecting where it was formerly located in the California Code of Regulations, Under state law, the City is responsible for complying with Title 24 in its public projects and for enforcing the Title 24 requirements in private projects that are subject to the City's jurisdiction through the City's building permit and building inspection programs. For certain projects built before the first version of Title 24 was adopted in 1981, the applicable standards are the 1961 American Standards Association Standard (the "ASA Standards"). In addition, California Civil Code Sections 54 and 54.1 require that persons with disabilities have equal access to accommodations available to the public, and make a violation of the federal Americans with Disability Act also a violation of state law. For a detailed description of these state laws and regulations, please see Exhibit A. For the purposes of this Procedure, all of the above-referenced laws and regulations shall be referred to as the "Law."

 

Q: Who may file a disability access complaint?
A:

Anyone who believes that a public or private project does not comply with the law because it contains deviations from the specifications set forth in the law may file a complaint under this procedure. An authorized representative of such a person may also file a complaint on the complainant's behalf. To the extent authorized by law, the identity of the complainant will be kept confidential.

 

Q: When should a disability access complaint be filed?
A:

Complaints should be filed as quickly as possible when alleged deviations are discovered so that they can be investigated and promptly resolved prior to completion of the construction work if possible.


 

Q: Is assistance in filing disability access complaints available?
A:

Persons with disabilities or others needing assistance should contact the following to request an appointment:

Dan Martin, Building Official
Planning and Building Department
City of Mill Valley 
26 Corte Madera Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Telephone (415) 388-4033 (TTY 771)
Fax (415) 381-1736
Email: dmartin@cityofmillvalley.org

 

Q: What happens after a disability access complaint is filed?
A:

After receiving a complaint, the Building Official or his/her designee will investigate all allegations within fourteen (14) days of receiving the complaint. The investigation will include interviews with: (a) the complainant; (b) the business owner, if a Private Project, or the responsible City Department or other public agency, if a Public Project; and (c) any other person the Building Official believes to have relevant knowledge concerning the complaint.

The Building Official also will consider any written or photographic evidence that is provided. After completing the investigation, the Building Official will review the factual information gathered through the investigation to determine whether the allegation is in fact a deviation from the Law. For Public Projects undertaken by the City, the City shall then take all actions necessary to correct any deviation from the Law which it confirms as a result of any investigation within ninety (90) days ofthe confirmation of such deviation, unless the deviation or deviations are so substantial that that they cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days of confirmation. In such circumstances, a specific timetable shall be prepared to assure that the deviations will be corrected within a reasonable period of time.

For Public Projects of other public entities, the City will forward the complaint to the appropriate state or federal agency. These agencies will process the complaint in accordance with their own regulations and procedures.

For Private Projects, the City shall send the responsible party and/or owner a written notice of violation demanding that the deviation be corrected within ninety (90) days of the confirmation of such deviation, unless the deviation or deviations are so substantial that that they cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days of confirmation. In such circumstances, a specific timetable will be prepared to assure that the deviations will be corrected within a reasonable period of time. If the responsible party and/or owner does not correct the deviation within ninety (90) days, commence to correct it if it is of such magnitude that it cannot be corrected within ninety (90) days, or comply with the timetable prepared by the City for correcting the deviation, the City shall refer the matter to the City Attorney for appropriate legal action.

 

Q: How will the complainant be informed of the status of the disability access complaint?
A:

Within seven (7) days of receipt of each complaint, the City shall send a letter to the complainant confirming receipt of the complaint, along with a timetable and a description of the process that will be used by the City in investigating the complaint and preparing a response.

After completion of the investigation, the City shall provide the complainant with another letter advising the complainant of the resolution of the complaint, including informing the complainant about his or her right of appeal. Where the City determines that any or all of the violations alleged in a complaint are unfounded, the City's letter shall include the factual and legal basis for such determination. In addition, upon completion of the corrections of the deviations where required, the Compliance Officer will then notify the complainant in writing of the completion of the remedial work. Also, the complainant will be notified if the matter is referred to the City Attorney for appropriate legal action.

 

Q: What if I see something dumped into a creek?
A:

Contact the Department of Public Works as soon as possible. If it is after hours, call the Dispatch Center at 389-4100.

 

Q: What if I see a fallen tree or limbs?
A:

If the tree is within the city limits of Mill Valley and is on City property you should contact the Mill Valley Parks & Recreation department @ 415-383-1370 with the location of the tree or limbs.

If the tree is within city limits and is blocking a public right of way or roadway contact the Mill Valley Parks & Recreation department @ 415-383-1370 (M-F 9am-5pm) and after hours call the Mill Valley Police Department @ 415-389-4100 with the location of the tree or limbs.

If the tree is on private property and has fallen onto private property contact the property owner.

If the tree is touching electrical wires contact PG&E 800-743-500 or the Mill Valley Fire Department at 389-4130.

If the tree is outside of the city limits, but is on county property contact County of Marin Public Works @ 415-499-7877.

 

Q: Who keeps the trees trimmed?
A:

Tree maintenance is the responsibility of the Parks Department (388-4242).

 

Q: When does an obstruction in the road become a road closure?
A:

The City requires eleven feet of roadway to be kept clear and passable. This is to allow for the free passage of emergency vehicles such as fire engines or ambulances. Leaving less than eleven feet open constitutes a closed road and requires a Road Closure Permit.


 

Q: Am I allowed to close a road?
A:

The City allows most roads to be closed for the staging of large equipment for construction or tree work. If you think you need to close a road, contact the Department of Public Works at least 48 hours before the proposed closure. There is a procedure to follow and a $70 fee. Access for emergency services must be maintained. Dead end streets and some busy streets may not be closed. Two closures on one street will not be allowed if this creates an area with no outlets. Overnight closures are not allowed. The City does not allow the closure of roads for the staging of moving vans. Streets may be closed for block parties. For information on staging a block party, see the City’s Event Policy.

 

Q: Am I allowed build a fence in the right-of-way?
A:

Fences are allowed to be built in the right-of-way under certain conditions. There has to be a necessary reason why the fence can’t be located on the property line. The right-of-way is for public use and fencing to expand yard size is prohibited. Given the City’s hilly topography, fences sometimes need to be placed in the right-of-way to accomplish their purpose. Fences are not allowed to be placed closer than three feet from the edge of the road. This allows for a recovery area for pedestrians. Gates are not allowed to swing over a road or sidewalk.

Fences or other surface improvements are not allowed within the Steps, Lanes and Paths throughout the City. Fences require an Encroachment Permit from DPW as well as fence permits from the Planning Department.

 

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