Frequently Asked Questions about Road Maintenance

Pileated Woodpecker photo: Ed Stetson

1. Who owns the roads in Paradise Ranch Estates (PRE)? 

The roads in PRE are owned collectively by the property owners. Since the roads are private, PRE residents and parcel owners, rather than the County of Marin, are responsible for road maintenance and upgrading. PRE property owners, tenants and their guests have the right to use these roads for access to properties in PRE. 

2. Does Marin County have a role in maintaining PRE’s road system?

It’s mostly administrative. In 1970 the Marin County Board of Supervisors, acting in response to a petition filed by residents of PRE, created the Paradise Ranch Estates Permanent Road Division (PREPRD), a county agency. By statute, the County Supervisors serve as the governing board of the Permanent Road Division. In late 2006, the Supervisors delegated responsibility for PRE road administration to the County Administrator who looks to the County Department of Public Works (DPW) to handle this the administrative work. 

3. What is PRERAB?

Whereas the PREPRD is a county agency, Paradise Ranch Estates Road Advisory Board (PRERAB) is a volunteer group of PRE residents. PRERAB recommends repairs and maintenance of PRE’s roads, and vegetation management along the roads. No one from the County of Marin monitors PRE’s roads' conditions, nor do they inspect roads after a major storm. PRERAB members monitor road maintenance needs, hire and supervise contractors working on the roads and plan for the long-term maintenance including any needed re-paving. They work closely, as per statute, with the County Department of Public Works (DPW).

4. How did PRERAB get established? 

PRERAB was formed in 1982 after extraordinary winter rains caused extensive damage to PRE roads. Since then, PRERAB’s volunteers have monitored road conditions and made recommendations for road repair and vegetation management to DPW. The County generally follows PRERAB’s recommendations for road maintenance, vegetation management and selection of qualified contractors to perform the work. 

5. Where do the funds for regular road maintenance come from? 

Since PRE’s roads are private, the funds to pay for road maintenance come from a portion of the annual property taxes collected from owners of the about 160 PRE lots. The county holds these funds until PRERAB makes an expenditure recommendation. Tax-related revenue from this source for fiscal year 2017-2018 was $51,800. This amount is typically enough to pay for most normal PRE road maintenance items but usually not enough to fund major projects (e.g., repaving miles of road) or extensive repairs from extreme weather events. 

6. Where do we get the funds for major projects like repaving? 

The property tax funds received each year by the PREPRD are devoted entirely to the repair and maintenance of the 6.5 miles of roads in PRE, both paved and unpaved. Major projects, such as repaving of Drake’s View Drive, require a separate source of funding.

In 1993, the last year Drake’s View Drive was repaved, the paving and related work cost about $182,000. It was paid for by a loan from the County; the loan was repaid by a ten-year special parcel assessment approved by the voters in PRE in 1992. The 1993-2002 parcel assessment was $174 per parcel for the first year and $110 per parcel each subsequent year until 2002. This assessment was listed separately on property tax bills.

In November 2006, PRE voters approved an additional 10-year parcel assessment of $185 per parcel per year to pay for vegetation management along the roads in PRE and to rebuild PRERAB's emergency reserve for road maintenance and repairs. This parcel assessment, which provided approximately an additional $29,000 per year, expired at the end of the 2016 fiscal year. Until another parcel assessment is approved, PRE will have reduced income for road maintenance and vegetation management. The emergency reserve as of August 2019 is about $120,000.

7. When should I expect the next assessment would be proposed? 

Drake’s View Drive needs to be repaved. A new parcel assessment will be required. During 2019 you can expect to hear from PRERAB and IRA as information about the current repaving project is put together. In the 27 years since the last repaving, the cost of everything has gone up dramatically. In addition, PRERAB has taken on vegetation management and other road-safety activities that add to the costs of maintenance.

An early estimate of the cost of a complete repaving and enhanced vegetation management was around $1,000,000. If the project were to cost $1,000,000 and be repaid over 10 years, the per-parcel assessment would be approximately $600-700 per year, depending on interest rates. PRERAB is investigating lower cost alternatives to reduce the annual cost to PRE lot owners.

8. How is a parcel assessment approved?

A parcel assessment must be adopted by a two-thirds “yes” vote of persons registered to vote at a PRE address who actually vote

9. I’m a renter. Am I affected by a parcel assessment? 

That depends upon your lease and whether it requires you to pay any part of the property tax assessment on the rented property.

10. Who are the current members of PRERAB? 

Please see http://www.invernessridgeassoc.com/prerab/ for a list of members of PRERAB.

As of January 2019, PRERAB members are Tamia Marg Anderson, Ron Bennett, Ken Drexler, (Secretary), Jennifer Howard, John Levy, Liz McManus, Randy Merk, Julie Merk, Michael Ongerth (Chair). 

12. What is the relationship between PRERAB and the Inverness Ridge Association (IRA)?

Inverness Ridge Association (IRA) is the neighborhood association for PRE, dedicated to the interests of PRE residents and owners. IRA typically deals with emergency preparedness, fire prevention, zoning and community planning. IRA also coordinates with the National Park Service on trail maintenance and wildland-urban interface questions. For more information about IRA please see http://invernessridgeassoc.com/

PRERAB works closely with IRA. The two groups have several members in common.

13. How can I stay informed on neighborhood issues? 

  • Email updates: The IRA Board president issues periodic updates via an all PRE residents’ email address list maintained by IRA. If you are not receiving these updates, make sure the president has your preferred, up-to-date email address, either by contacting them directly or entering it in the form at the bottom of all pages on the IRA website (http://invernessridgeassoc.com/updates). Updates are posted on the IRA website soon after they are distributed.

  • Nextdoor: Also, there is a community exchange called Nextdoor.com which can be accessed at http://paradiseranchestates.nextdoor.com/  To become part of the Nextdoor.com website, you will need to register with the website, identifying your physical address in the neighborhood. 

  • Discussion list: Finally, there is a voluntary email list of PRE residents at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/pre-residents. If you need assistance with enrolling at Nextdoor.com or would like your email added to the Google PRE residents list, please contact johnvlevy@gmail.com

  • Annual meeting: There is an annual “general meeting” of the IRA, for all residents, usually in January.

  • Volunteering: You can also volunteer to take part in the IRA Board or PRERAB.

14. Who arranges the vegetation management work along PRE’s roads & who does the work? 

In 2005 – 2007, this work was arranged by IRA and included the construction of more than 6 pullouts along the roads to improve access for emergency vehicles. Since 2007 this work has been arranged by PRERAB. Vegetation management work and SOD tree removal has been done by various local contractors

15. Whom should I call if I have a road-related question? 

In an emergency, call 911. If you have a non-emergency question about the roads, we recommend that you call a member of PRERAB who regularly deals with the subject matter of your question. Please see http://www.invernessridgeassoc.com/prerab/ for the subject matters.


Top banner photo credit: Ed Stetson