Frequently Asked Questions

These are frequently asked questions having to do with street maintenance, tree and ground maintenance, and traffic. If you have a question about these topics that you don't see answered here, let us know at marcom@unioncity.org

Q: Are there any City policies regarding street trees?

A. Yes, there are a few.

  • The City requires that every single family home has at least one street tree in their front yard within the City right of way. When a new home is built, a new tree is planted.
  • If over the years the tree has been removed and not replaced, the City will require the current homeowner to install a new tree at their cost.
    • Note: The City does not go out actively seeking those single family homes without a tree. Instead, if a homeowner applies for a building permit to make a home improvement or for an encroachment permit, the City will require the homeowner to install a new tree if one is missing.
  • Homeowners are required to take care of and maintain the tree. However, the City will assist with tree pruning on an as needed basis.

DF1_8906Q: What is the City's position regarding tree removal?

A. The City does not encourage the removal of healthy trees, even if they are causing uplift of sidewalks. The City prefers to take proactive steps to save trees by installing root barriers to help prevent the uplifting of sidewalks.

  • Note: There are some instances where an invasive species of tree may have been planted in the past and the tree is causing significant issue or the tree is diseased and needs to be removed.
  • Prior to any tree removal, the resident shall contact and confirm with the City arborist. The City arborist will then determine if the tree needs to be removed or if other methods such as root barriers will allow the tree to remain.
    • Note: If the tree is to be removed (which is within the City’s rights of way) and it is because the tree (in the opinion of the arborist) is causing significant damage to the sidewalks, then the City will remove the tree at the City’s cost. 
    • If a tree is removed by the City, another tree which is less invasive will be planted in its place which the City will provide and pay for. Care and maintenance of the new tree will be the responsibility of the home owner.

Q: Are there any City policies regarding sidewalks or sidewalk repair?

A. Yes, per the Union City municipal code and state law, homeowners are to maintain the sidewalk (even though it is in City’s rights of way) to make sure there is safe passage for pedestrians. Regarding sidewalk repairs:

  • All repairs to sidewalks are the responsibility of the homeowners including any uplift caused by City trees.
    • However, temporary patching or shaving of the sidewalk will be performed by the City at the City’s cost as an interim fix if it can eliminate the tripping hazard.DF2_6515
  • The City has a sidewalk policy where the City pays for all curb and gutter improvements and the homeowner pays for all sidewalk repairs.
  • The homeowner can elect to have the sidewalk repairs performed as part of the City’s annual sidewalk project provided the homeowner pays for the sidewalk repair costs.
    • The homeowner has the option of making 12 monthly payments which equates to the total of the costs, paying a one-time lump sum for the cost of the repairs or having a lien placed on the homeowners property which will become due at the time of sale of his property.
  • The homeowner has the option to forego the City yearly sidewalk program and apply for an encroachment permit to fix the sidewalk.
    • If this occurs, the work must be performed by a contractor licensed in that field of work and the homeowner will have to provide bonds and encroachment permit fees.

Q: Are there any City policies regarding the planting of new trees by a homeowner?

A. No, but prior to planting a tree the homeowner may want to check with the City arborist for a list of non-invasive species so as to minimize the potential damage a mature invasive tree may cause. Also, if a homeowner wanted to plant tree in the City rights of way, an encroachment permit is needed.

Q: Is the City doing anything to improve traffic safety or reduce traffic congestion?

A. Yes, over the past 7 years the City has installed several traffic calming measures in an attempt to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. These measures aim to encourage safer, more responsible driving and potentially reduce traffic flow. Some of these include:

  • The City has installed radar speed indicator signs which alert drivers to slow down when they are exceeding the posted speed limits. These have been installed on various collector streets throughout the City.
  • We have been re-striping streets to reduce travel lane widths to 11 feet wide, with protected bike lanes and with parking.
  • Stop signs are used where they are warranted and are installed when there are sight distance issues or traffic volume issues.
  • The City installs rumble strips which are a series of raised dots which create a rumble noise when a driver travels too fast over them alerting them to the speed limit.
  • The City has recently installed bulb- outs at various intersections. These bulb- outs reduce the size of the roadway at the intersection. The concept is that drivers will reduce their speeds since the lanes are narrower. The bulb- outs also provide a safer means for pedestrians to cross the road as the distance to cross the road has been shorten.