If you see a fallen tree in the roadway please call 911.
If you notice a fallen tree that is not in a roadway and does not pose any immediate danger please contact the Public Works front desk at 415-384-4800 during weekdays 8 am to 5 pm.
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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.
This possible roadway modification is on the table for review. At their May 4, 2015, City Council meeting, the City Manager presented a report on traffic conditions and introduced an Action Plan with steps the City can take to restore road capacity, increase capacity and reduce the demand on our roads. The Action Plan includes realistic steps to provide immediate improvements and a structure to develop further comprehensive short and long-term strategies to improve traffic flow. One of the approved steps from the Action Plan includes forming a Traffic Congestion Advisory Task Force to develop recommendations for short and long-term improvements and programs. The widening of East Blithedale is one of the roadway modifications that will be studied by the Task Force.
Please visit the Public Streets and Sidewalks (link) page to find out information about Mill Valley’s updated ‘Five Year Pavement Maintenance Plan’ as well as your streets most recent ‘Pavement Condition Index (PCI)’ score.
Information about this year’s roadway project can be found here (link).
Tree maintenance is the responsibility of the Parks Department. Call them at 415-388-4242.
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.
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.
The most important factor for Public Works is how a fence hinders visibility. Tall, solid fences can block visibility for a car exiting a property. This is especially important in areas that have sidewalks. With a tall solid fence, a car backing out of a driveway, and a child on a bicycle on the sidewalk will not be able to see each other until it is too late. With the varied terrain and irregularly shaped lots in Mill Valley, the amount of sight distance necessary to be preserved is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, if you are submitting a fence application near a driveway or a road, it is suggested you start with a design that limits the fence height to 30 inches within a 10-foot triangular area on either side of the driveway or road.
Yes, see the City's Events Policy.
The Municipal Code allows for the storage of garbage cans in places where they will not be a public nuisance or in any degree offensive. While this does not exclude garbage cans from the right-of-way, the City prohibits the construction of pads or enclosures for garbage cans in the right-of-way.
The road rights-of-way in Mill Valley are typically 40 or 50 feet wide, while the paved roads are less than that. So a parking space may be off the pavement, but still in the right-of-way. The policy is that if a parking space is at least 50% in the right-of-way it is considered a public space and is available to anyone on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you pay to create a parking space more than 50% in the right-of-way it is still a public space even though you have paid for it. Any new parking spaces that may be created must be wide enough to hold a car completely off the paved roadway.
Keeping sidewalks clear is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. It's extremely important to allow for access by both the disabled and ambulatory community. The Public Works Department abates sidewalk obstructions by sending an Abatement Notice to the owner, requiring trimming within a reasonable time. If the shrubbery is not removed, the Department may cause it to be removed at the expense of the owner, including administrative costs. These costs can become a lien on the property if not addressed. We strongly encourage owners to inspect and maintain the walkways adjacent to their property to avoid time-consuming and costly efforts by the City.
The City had a policy where streets were put into four categories, A through D. This policy is no longer in effect. The current policy is to consider rights-of-way as either City or private. There is a new policy regarding B streets, which are streets that have historically received minimal maintenance. The City Council has set aside annual funds exclusively for repairing B streets. DPW Staff prioritizes the repairs, and once completed, the B street classification is eliminated and the street is a normal City street with the same maintenance levels as other City streets. The streets that were called C or D are now considered private streets and do not receive City maintenance. Just because a street is called private does not mean someone can regulate passage on these streets. The private streets still have a right-of-way that allows the public to use these streets.
Drainage involves the natural flow of surface water across the property. Many factors affect drainage, including the topography of the property and the land upstream, the type of soil present, the type of development on the property (for example, whether the property is paved or landscaped), the localized drainage systems at the property (drains, gutters, ditches, and the like), among many others. Some properties may naturally be prone to flooding during heavy rain events. Adequate drainage is also important to hillside stability and landslide prevention.
To evaluate the adequacy of the drainage systems at your property, and to determine whether your property presents special risks (such as hillside properties), you should consult a California licensed specialist, such as a civil engineer, geotechnical engineer, or geologist, and obtain guidance on the need for regular slope and drainage inspections.
Yes. On a large development project such as building a new house, the City may ask you to submit a drainage plan, prepared by a California licensed engineer, as part of your application to develop your property. The installation of drainage facilities on such a project would be inspected by the City for compliance with the property owner's plan. Tie-ins to public drains or gutters in the public right-of-way require an Encroachment Permit.
Large-scale projects, such as rerouting the course of a storm drain or channel, require a Watercourse Modification Permit issued by the Department of Public Works. Work within a creek requires review and approval from several regulatory agencies, including the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Department of Fish and Game, and possibly the Army Corps of Engineers. For further information, see the Department of Public Works fact sheet regarding work near creeks.
Probably not. On a small project, such as a room addition or installation of a deck, or on drainage work unrelated to a construction project, such as landscaping, property owners may do minor localized drainage improvements without obtaining City or other regulatory permits or approval. If in doubt, contact the City's Public Works Department. In addition, do not alter your slopes or drainage without expert advice. Consult a California licensed civil engineer.
Yes. There are many measures that property owners can and should take to protect their property. These include, for example, controlling water that flows onto the property, controlling runoff on slopes, strengthening the soil to resist erosion, allowing for positive drainage at the property, installing adequate drains, gutters, and other devices at your property, among many others.
It is also important to maintain your drainage system, such as making sure drains are not clogged with leaves, replacing cracked drains and gutters promptly, and inspecting your drainage system regularly especially before, during, and after the rainy season. There are also many emergency preparedness measures you can take to protect your property from water damage, such as having sandbags, pumps, and plastic sheeting available before the rainy season. If you notice any unusual cracks, earth slippage, or settling, consult an expert immediately.
The City encourages property owners to disperse stormwater runoff from their impervious surfaces on their own property by recreating natural sheet flow wherever possible and directing it towards the public street. If this is not feasible, the drain line may be run to the street. An Encroachment Permit is required from the Department of Public Works for this work. All pipes in the right-of-way must be buried according to City standards.
During business hours, call the Department of Public Works at 415-388-4033. If they are unavailable, call the Police Dispatch Center at 415-389-4100.
If the sewage is in your yard, contact a sewer service company immediately. Most local sewer service companies have after-hours response crews. If it appears to be from a City main, contact the Department of Public Works at 415-388-4033 during business hours and the Police Dispatch Center at 415-389-4100 after hours.
The City's Municipal Code states that the owner of a sewer lateral is responsible for maintaining their sewer lateral all the way to the City main, including the portion within the right-of-way. This includes the fitting that branches the lateral off the main.
The connection referred to here is not the physical connection of the sewer pipe. It refers to allowing a dwelling unit to have its sewage transported by the City system and processed by the SASM treatment plant. The connection charge for second units is $1,250 for dwelling units less than 700 Square feet and $4,000 for units greater than 700 square feet. In addition, an annual Sewer Service Charge of $297 is levied on the second unit. The physical connecting of a second unit may also require a Plumbing Permit from the Building Department for work on private property and an Encroachment Permit for that portion of the work in the right-of-way.
If any work increases the number of plumbing fixtures, you will need to replace your sewer lateral unless you can demonstrate to the Department that it is a tightline pipe in good condition. A tightline pipe is either steel or plastic, so all clay piping will need to be replaced, and with the proper permits.
Shared laterals are discouraged except for extreme circumstances where it is technically or environmentally infeasible to install a lateral into a City main sewer. This is because of the difficulty of assigning and accepting responsibility when repairs are needed or emergencies occur. Cost is not considered a qualifying factor. In the event that the Department concurs that a shared lateral is the only feasible alternative, a maintenance agreement between the parties must be prepared and recorded.
Regarding another property using your lateral, you should first refer to the title report for the property to find if there is a recorded easement. If there is no recorded easement, the property owner using your lateral may have continued rights of use through the history of use. The City cannot assist in this determination, as it ultimately must be determined in court. Property owners are always encouraged to make all reasonable attempts to work with each other before seeking legal recourse.
There are two main reasons for this problem. One is the connection of storm drains to the sewer system, which is illegal. If you have a downspout or area drain connected to your sewer, this should be corrected so the stormwater is discharged in an appropriate manner. The other common cause of this problem is old sewer lines, both City mains and private laterals. Older sewers were made of clay pipe, which can break or separate over the years, allowing rainwater in the ground to get into the pipe that leads to the treatment plant. You are strongly urged to have your lateral inspected and replaced if it is clay pipe. This will help reduce potential overflows at the SASM treatment plant.
The City has a winter grading moratorium. Grading is not allowed from October 15th to April 15th. There are no exceptions. This means all grading has to be completed by October 15th. If an excavation is going to be retained by a retaining wall or foundation, the wall or foundation must be completed by October 15th. If no retaining structures are included in the work, the site grading must be completed and the site winterized by October 15th. This would include the installation of any temporary or permanent erosion control measures. If construction work that includes excavation is anticipated to be near the deadline of October, a construction schedule must be approved by the Department. Unrealistic schedules will be rejected and the construction activities will need to include winterization until April 15th.
The City allows short-term use of the right-of-way for construction projects. Sometimes the topography of a site makes it impossible for delivery trucks to deliver their shipment on private property. You are allowed one day to move the material onto your own property. Any material stored in the road must fit in a legal parking space. Debris boxes are allowed in the right-of-way if you obtain an Encroachment Permit from the Department of Public Works. The cost is $10 per day in residential areas and $20 per day in metered spaces. The long-term use of the right-of-way for construction purposes is not allowed. The City does not allow the placement of job sheds, porta-potties or storage containers in the right-of-way. Storage in the right-of-way is not permitted over weekends.
You can reserve spaces for large tasks such as pouring concrete or bringing in a crane. Reserving spaces for daily worker parking is not allowed. Spaces may be reserved by contacting the Department of Public Works. There is a fee of $10 per space per day or $20 for metered spaces. The Department may restrict the number of days allowed in areas with parking issues.
The right-of-way for most streets in Mill Valley is either forty or fifty feet wide, which is wider than the actual paved road surface. Due to our hilly topography, locating a garage on private property may involve a large cut into the hill or having the garage sticking out into space. In an effort to minimize excessive grading or unsightly hanging garages, the City allows garages to be partially in the right-of-way.
Mill Valley has a boilerplate set of development conditions that are tailored for each individual development. Many of these apply to most development and are frequently imposed. Each department of the City imposes their own conditions. Check the Boilerplate Development Conditions from Public Works.
The City of Mill Valley only provides services within City limits. The neighborhoods mentioned above are not within the City of Mill Valley and receive services from other agencies such as the County or a special district. If you have a question about whether you're in Mill Valley city limits or which district, check the online maps. This website is jointly prepared by all Marin cities and the County, as well as special districts, and is an excellent resource for digital information about properties, boundaries, districts, transportation, hydrology, and aerial photographs.
Please visit the Department of Public Works page to find out information about the current year's road section repairs, replacement of asphalt, concrete pavement and traffic markings, resurfacing, repair of sewer pipes, storm drainage rehabilitation, and other street work.
Debris box rentals require approval by the Department of Public Works. Please visit the Department of Public Works front desk upstairs in City Hall at:26 Corte Madera AvenueMill Valley, CA 94941.
For further questions or to check on staff availability please call 415-384-4800.
To report the dumping of hazardous materials in creeks or gutters during business hours please call the Public Works front desk at 415-384-4800.
To report dumping of hazardous materials after hours, please contact the Police Dispatch at 415-446-4526.
If you notice a missing or fallen stop sign please contact us immediately. During weekdays 8 am to 5 pm please call the Public Works front desk at 415-384-4800.
If you are calling after hours or on a day when City Hall is closed please call Police Dispatch at 415-446-4526.
It depends on who is doing the work and when.
If you are a Construction Professional (i.e. a Licensed Contractor) or an owner/occupant doing your own construction on a site with an active building permit:
If you are an owner/occupant and are doing home maintenance not associated with a site with an active building permit:
Certain types of activities and noise sources associated with residential living are permitted under the City's municipal code. With the exception of gas-powered leaf blowers, low-noise generating power garden equipment (such as hedge clippers, weed-eaters, lawnmowers) is permitted as follows:
Please Note: Unless expressly permitted by the City of Mill Valley, commercial landscape maintenance work on residential properties is not permitted on weekends and holidays.
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.
Visit DC Electric's website here to report a problem with streetlights. When reporting streetlight problems you will be asked for the location of the pole and a pole number. The numbers are typically three digits long followed by a letter. You will also be asked for the type of problem with the light. The three main problems with streetlights are being burned out, staying on during the day, and blinking on and off which is called cycling. If you have other concerns, please call the Department of Public Works office at (415)384-4800.
No. It is unlawful to divert flows from their natural path to harm your neighbor's property. Every property owner has a duty to take reasonable care to avoid injury to adjacent property, including avoiding injury through the flow of surface waters. Even though water naturally flows from higher ground to lower ground, both the upper and lower property owners must act reasonably with respect to his or her neighbor's land.
You should work with your neighbors where possible to resolve disputes. If you are unable to resolve your dispute, you may seek assistance from various dispute resolution services, such as Mediation Services. If you have questions regarding your legal rights and responsibilities, consult an attorney. The City does not arbitrate disputes between property owners regarding drainage matters.
There are two types of tree-cutting permits required by the City of Mill Valley: one for trees on city property and one for trees on private property. The Department of Planning and Building oversees those on private property.
The City of Mill Valley's Planning Department requires a permit to remove four or more (non-Heritage) trees on a developed site per year. The City requires a permit to remove any Heritage tree. In addition, no tree may be removed from a vacant site without a permit. There are certain exceptions to the permit requirements based on tree size, emergencies, and vegetative management.
The Supplemental Application Form for Tree Removal Permit provides the application requirements (submit with the Planning Application Form). The current fee for a Tree Removal Permit is $775 for a Heritage Tree. For 4 or more non-Heritage Trees on a developed lot or a Heritage Oak Tree with Sudden Oak Death, the fee is $76 per tree. Please allow up to 30 days for the process and approval of these tree permits.
For more information regarding Private tree trimming or removals call Planning Department at 415-388-4033.
The Department of Public Works, Parks Supervisor oversees the application process for pruning and removal of trees on city property. A permit is required to trim, brace or alter or remove any tree on city property. The current permit fee to trim, brace or alter trees is $25. The current permit fee to remove a tree under 20" in diameter is $25 per tree and for trees over 20 inches in diameter is $100 per tree. Fees are due at the time of the permit request. An Application for Pruning and Removal of City Trees, along with fee payment, must be turned into the Parks Department for processing prior to any work on city trees.
For more information regarding City tree trimming or removals call the Department of Public Works at 415-388-4033
You can fill out a form to send a request to the Public Works Department or call them directly at 415-384-4800. Pothole requests are forwarded to our Streets and Sewer team and repair times vary depending on staff availability and the specifics related to the damaged street. When filling out the form please include your contact information so staff can be in touch with you about the request.