Sidewalk repairs could become owners’ responsibility
As a property owner, how do you feel about Los Angeles sidewalk repairs becoming property owner’s responsibility? A Los Angeles City Council committee is looking into shifting the costs of repairing broken sidewalks to property owners.
By City News Service
A Los Angeles city panel today will take up a proposal for shifting the responsibility of fixing broken sidewalks back to property owners.
Under state law, property owners are on the hook for repairing sidewalks adjacent to their homes, but in 1974 the city exempted property owners from repairing sidewalks damaged by overgrown tree roots.
The exception was made so that the city could take advantage of federal funds for the repairs, but the money soon dried up, leaving the city still responsible but unable to continue fixing sidewalks, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote in a report released this week.
Santana is recommending that the city “phase in” the process for restoring the responsibility of sidewalk repairs to property owners.
The City Council’s Budget and Finance and Public Works and Gang Reduction committees are scheduled to hold a joint meeting on Monday to discuss Santana’s proposals. A series of hearings throughout the city is also being planned.
Santana also recommends that the city once again set up a sidewalk inspection program to evaluate the condition of sidewalks and to issue notices or citations when repairs are needed. He’s proposing the city assume the responsibility for repairing sidewalks adjacent to “single-family” homes if they are found to be damaged by street tree roots, then assign that responsibility back to property owners for future fixes.
Santana advises against the “fix and release” strategy for commercial properties. He said property owners should have one year to fix sidewalks before the inspection is done, and another year to do the repairs if the sidewalks are cited as needing them.
He also advises against most cost-sharing plans for now, since the city would be responsible for fixing residential sidewalks during the first few years, except for when the programs are aimed at encouraging more repairs.
The plan is being contemplated now that city leaders have agreed to spend $1.4 billion — or about $31 million a year — over three decades as part of a legal settlement with disability advocates to reduce the amount of crumbling sidewalks around the city.
The settlement requires that the city prioritize its repair spending starting with sidewalks outside city buildings and facilities, then transportation corridors, hospitals and other medical facilities, commercial and business areas, places of employment and finally, residential areas.