LA budget ideas include do-it-yourself sidewalk repair for property owners By Rick Orlov Staff Writer
Asking Los Angeles property owners to repair their own sidewalks was among several ideas floated Thursday by the City Council to help offset a $684 million budget shortfall over the next 18 months.
Council members spent most of the meeting discussing areas in which the city can bring in more revenue through collection of bad debts and the request that contractors reduce their bills by 10 percent.
"Most of the contractors have shown a willingness to step forward," City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said, estimating the city might see as much as a $15 million return on the $150 million in contracts the city has for this year.
The towns do have an easement on a certain number of feet from the center line of the road. I found this out when a utility company started cutting down trees in my front yard (bass turds). Anyway, the sidewalks - condition of repair & snow removal - were always the responsibility of the homeowner in most towns ever since I was a kid. I'm currently a geezer This might be best for all concerned because in the last town I lived in, the city workers were best at plowing down mailboxes & gouging out landscaping. Good grief.
20. As it is in Denver... but haphazard compliance at best...
Edited on Fri Mar-05-10 02:41 PM by hlthe2b
There are stretches of sidewalk in residential areas-- that don't get direct sun-- that have remained frozen choppy ice for two months now. Fun when you come across these stretches at night, walking the dog.
27. That's how it is where I live but we don't have to do our own repairs.
I think if I have to repair the sidewalks I should be able to keep people off my sidewalk. After all, all those people walking on it takes a toll and adds to my expenses for which they contribute nada.
My God, what is up with these cities?? We can't even plant anything in the swale at our house.
My one big question to all of these cities out of money - What exactly happened to all of the money you were getting when all of these home values were going up?? It's the same here in Florida. Those counties were living high on the hog when the Real Estate Boom was going on. Now, they are cutting everything. Why didn't they take care of things when the money was still there?? It is so unbelievable.
10. I've never lived in a home where the sidewalk NEEDed repair
I bet the bricks in front of my house are over 50 years old. Maybe over 100 years. My house was built in 1887. I was gonna replace some of the bricks, but the city wanted me to get a $15 permit just for the privilege of fixing up my sidewalk.
The government can claim to have the rights to first 6 feet of your property yet you are responsible for it. It is this kind of nonsense that gets people angry at the government. From experience the local bureaucrats are the worst. Sometimes there is no difference between the two parties on the local level.
16. Yes, in Ann Arbor sidewalk repairs are the homeowner's responsiblity
The city will come and tell you what needs to be fixed, give you a certain amount of time to fix it, then fine you if you haven't. Same with snow removal, you can be ticketed if it isn't cleared in 24 hours.
19. I know in the 50s when they were still building them here and there
the homeowner was assessed a certain amount on his taxes to pay for their installation, one reason my own parents would never consider buying a corner property.
Requiring homeowners to repair them is asking for trouble, though. Consider the lack of masonry skills among the average Harry Homeowner to figure out why, and you can bet Harry will try to do it a bucket of cement at a time on Saturday mornings.
32. And Harry's the one who will get sued when someone trips over the patch.
Win-win for the city.
The whole notion of treating sidewalks like a special enhancement is ridiculously antiquated, as are the laws in Snowbelt areas expecting individual owners to shovel the sidewalks in front of their properties. You and I both saw how ridiculous that was in Boston-- every few feet the terrain changed as you navigated from one lot to the next. Joe Schmoe shoveled off the whole sidewalk, Jack Sprat shoveled only a narrow pathway, and both of them piled snow on the edges of the curb cut. It would be so much better for all concerned if the cities/towns plowed the sidewalks right after plowing the streets.
But I haven't needed it on the crosswalk yet. There is another walk out to the road that has sunken. But I could probably just lift it and shove some fill under it (item #132 on my to-do list).
The winter gifted me with a pothole behind my garage. I am seriously thinking of patching it myself as I suspect alley potholes are going to be low, lower, lowest priority for fixing.
And really, what's wrong with pitching in and actually doing some of the work ourselves when we can? Growing up on a farm, my dad plowed the entire road we lived on every snowfall. Most farmers do. Of course, technically we owned about half of that as well. In Indiana homeowners own the half of the road on their side. As we owned both sides of half the length of the road, we owned the entire road for that stretch.
Having inherited a bit of it, I now pay property taxes on this public road! I gather they tax that particular portion at a massively reduced rate. But I was told they do tax it.
23. I will fight anyone who tries to put a sidewalk in the midst of my triffids.
Edited on Fri Mar-05-10 02:42 PM by Jamastiene
I'll aim my other triffids and my fire ants and all the other biting, stinging, horrible, wretched, tough, impossible to kill shit in the jungle that is my back yard at them.
They'll leave my jungle alone unless they want a naturally occurring (I think) biological war with Mother Nature on their hands. I already signed a treaty with Mother Nature that I'll find some way to live (or die) amidst this jungle I call home and I fully intend to defend my little hovel and all my triffids.
Kinda, I mean I can't kill them. Might as well learn to live with them. So far, so good. *audible GULP* Knock on wood.
I welcome my triffid overlords.
They are not making me type this, really they aren't.
As far as those cheap asses running LA, damn them. I'm glad I don't live there. If I did, they could bite me. I got shit in my yard that'll bite them back.
31. Here in CA cities can legally force the homeowner to repair a sidewalk
through what is known as a hazard abatement program. They can declare the sidewalk a hazard and hold a public hearing and if the homeowner fails to object (or if he objects and is overruled by the City Council) repairs are done by the city and billed to the homeowner to be paid with property taxes. This is nothing new, the law enabling these procedures has been in effect since 1911.
The reason cities do this is to shift the liability for injuries that may arise from a damaged sidewalk. And preserve their dwindling street repair funds to actually repair streets.
You may object to this if you are the owner of a damaged sidewalk but why should I pay taxes to repair your sidewalk if my sidewalk is OK.
On the other hand, none of us gets to decide whether or not we actually WANT a sidewalk in front of our property, so should we be forced to repair it?
Obviously, since a ginormous city like Los Angeles has gone for 99 years without enforcing the hazard abatement process, there is not an easy answer to the question. It's a matter of local policy. And you can bet that cash strapped cities are looking under every rock for every penny they can scratch up.
Homeowners must maintain their sidewalks. If someone reports a crack, an inspector will come and basically give you a summons saying that sidewalks need to be repaired by a certain date or there will be fines.
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