What is Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu?

The Land Development Code, Chapter 25-6-354 allows for developers to pay a fee in lieu of building sidewalks when projects meet certain criteria.  When this occurs the monies paid are set aside in a fund for future sidewalk construction in that neighborhood. The Neighborhood Plan Contact Team is notified when an application for fee-in-lieu is approved as part of a new subdivision, site plan, or building permit.

When will we be notified of a Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu payment?

Staff from the Development Assistance Center sends quarterly announcements to Neighborhood Plan Contact Teams. A notice is only sent if a fee in lieu of payment has been made in the planning area. Notices are not sent when there is a sidewalk fee in lieu paid in areas that do not have a Neighborhood Plan. However, those fees are still collected and must be spent within the area from which the funding was collected.

Is there a time frame for when the Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu money must be spent?

Yes, funds must be spent within ten years.

What happens to unspent Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu money?

Money not spent within ten years may be returned to the developer upon request.

What types of projects are eligible to use Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu money?

Eligible project types include: sidewalk and curb ramp installation. The funding must be spent within the neighborhood planning area from which the funding was collected. 

How is Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu funding allocated to eligible projects?

The Public Works Department Sidewalk Program staff takes into consideration the recommendations of the adopted Neighborhood Plan for the area when allocating funding. In order to be considered for funding, projects typically must have been identified as a “very high” or “high” priority within the City of Austin Sidewalk Master Plan. Sidewalk fee-in-lieu funding will be used to supplement other funding sources, including voter-approved bonds and state and federal grants.

How is the construction of new sidewalks prioritized by the Sidewalk Master Plan?

The City of Austin Sidewalk Master Plan has a prioritization matrix for new sidewalk projects that includes but not limited to the following factors:

  • How far are the nearby schools, major employers, transit stops, government offices, public accommodations and public housing?
  • How many people live in the area?
  • Are there already existing sidewalks in the area?
  • How busy is the street?
  • Has a request been made? (Has the request been made by the ADA task force, as part of an Adopted Neighborhood Plan, or by a neighborhood resident?)
  • Have there been reported pedestrian safety concerns?

Sidewalk Program staff use this decision matrix to prioritize eligible sidewalk projects for funding.

Is there a list of upcoming sidewalk projects available online?

A list is not currently available online. An interactive map that displays current and upcoming sidewalk construction is available here.

Where can I find a copy of the approved Sidewalk Master Plan?

You can review the approved 2016 Sidewalk Master Plan. For additional resources and information about City of Austin sidewalks, visit www.austintexas.gov/sidewalks.

How can Neighborhood Plan Contact Teams be involved in the decision making process?

Contact teams should continue to work with Planning and Zoning Department implementation planners to prioritize their neighborhood plan recommendations on a regular basis. Sidewalk Program staff relies on the Sidewalk Master Plan, as well as the priorities identified in the Neighborhood Plans, to guide decision-making regarding construction of new sidewalks using fee-in-lieu and other funding.  In some cases contact teams and organized neighborhood residents may also be able to secure additional resources that can leverage fee-in-lieu funding in a particular location, including Neighborhood Partnering Program grant funding.

How do I find out the amount of Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu that has been collected for my neighborhood?

Funds are tracked through a Capital Reporting system.  If you have questions regarding the amount of funding available in your neighborhood, please contact Eric Dusza, Public Works Department at (512) 974-6504 or Eric.Dusza@austintexas.gov

Can Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu money be used as a match for the Neighborhood Partnering Program?

Yes. The monies must be requested and approved by the Public Works Department on a case-by-case basis.

Who do I call if I have questions about the Sidewalk Fee-in-Lieu Process?

If you have questions regarding how sidewalk fee-in-lieu is collected during the development process, please contact Amber Mitchell, Development Services Department, Land Use Review Division at (512) 974-3428 or Amber.Mitchell@austintexas.gov

If you have questions regarding how the sidewalk fee-in-lieu funding will be applied in your area, please contact Eric Dusza, Public Works Department at (512) 974-6504 or Eric.Dusza@austintexas.gov.