Privately Maintained Roads: Privately maintained roads are roads that have not been accepted in the County Maintained Road System by the Board of Supervisors; and therefore are not maintained by the County. The County is prohibited from spending public funds to maintain non-County maintained roads. Road maintenance for privately maintained roads is the responsibility of those using the road. See Civil Code Section 845 Opens a New Window. . Also, check your title insurance policy; there may be a Road Maintenance Association that was formed in order to provide road maintenance for a privately maintained road. If a Road Maintenance Association exists, contact the Road Maintenance Association to request road maintenance work.
The majority of the roads in unincorporated County are not maintained by the County. The decision to make a road County maintained is with the property owners that use the road. The procedure to make a County maintained road is as follows:
1) 100% of the underlying landowners must be willing to grant public road easements to the County. However, in some rare instances, a public right of way may exist and therefore there is no need to grant pubic road easements;
2) the road must be fully improved to County standards; and
3) 2/3 of the properties that use the road must vote YES to establish an assessment district to fund future road maintenance.
After all three of the above criteria are met, the Department would then recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the road be accepted into the County Maintained Road System. See Permanent Road Divisions Opens a New Window. for more on the procedures.
Private Easements versus Public Road Easements: The nature of a road easement determines who can use a non-county maintained road. If the road has a public easement dedicated to the County, the public has the right to use the road and road cannot be gated. If the road does not have a public dedication, then the public may be excluded from using the road. Easements can be found by reviewing title reports, if available; otherwise easements can be researched at the County Recorder’s Office or by utilizing the services of a title company.
Questions: If you have questions regarding forming a Road Maintenance Association, contact the Land Use Division at 707.445.7205. Staff can provide you with templates and sample documents in order to help you form a Road Maintenance Association.
If you have questions regarding forming a Permanent Road Division, contact the Land Use Division at 707.445.7205.