shaffe wrote:Since when did the city fix sidewalks? They just made me shoulder $6k in curb and sidewalk repairs for concrete that was less than 20 years old - and still haven't fixed the wastewater inlet part of my property that continues to crumble.
The sidewalk issue is really an unfair situation. There are many neighborhoods in Kansas City where there are properties that don't have sidewalks at all, and others where there are sidewalks on one side of the street, but not the other. So some homeowners are put in the position of having to pay to maintain and repair a sidewalk, while their neighbor directly across the street doesn't have that responsibility, or ever has to worry about it.
The inequity comes from one property owner being forced to maintain a form of public infrastructure, while his neighbor is not required to bear that expense.
Let's say you live on one of these blocks. If you are living in a house--in an older neighborhood, only valued at around $50,000, you can get hit with a $5,000 sidewalk repair that your neighborhood across the street, who doesn't have a sidewalk, doesn't have to bear. If you are low-income, or on a fixed income, this can be an overwhelming expense. There are many residents who don't have that much in savings, to even fix the sidewalk. They could be living month-to-month on their Social Security check, or paycheck-to-paycheck.
There are also situations where the requirement is applied very unfairly. On some blocks in older neighborhoods, the City might own several properties that have abandoned houses, or cleared lots, where the sidewalks are in really bad shape. Yet, if you are a homeowner on this block, and have a sidewalk needing repair, you are required to spend a significant amount to fix your sidewalk, while the City parcels--adjacent to your property--go unfixed.
The other issue here is that there are many neighborhoods in the City that don't have any sidewalks. These homeowners aren't required to install a sidewalk, yet homeowners in older neighborhoods that have crumbling sidewalks are required to bear the cost of fixing them--and many aren't in the financial position to do it.
The issue here is why do some property owners get away with never having sidewalk expenses, while other residents in other parts of the City do?
In older parts of the City, the expense can be even greater is you have the misfortune of owning a house on a corner lot, with sidewalks on two sides of the property, so a corner lot house might have a expense of $10,000 to repair the sidewalk.
The other issue, where I've never had this question answered, is this: can a property owner, facing an expensive sidewalk repair, simply just remove the sidewalk completely and not replace it? There are many neighborhoods (like in the Northland) that aren't required to have a sidewalk. So why couldn't someone living in the central city just remove their damaged sidewalk entirely, and not have that responsibility in the future?
Here are examples of this situation along Gladstone Boulevard--and a block south--in the Old Northeast.http://tinyurl.com/gluyxgn
Here is another example. At this intersection, some property owners have to maintain sidewalks, while directly across the street, that homeowner has no sidewalk to maintain. There is no rhyme-nor-reason to why some property owners on the same block have sidewalks, and others don't.
Take a look around this intersection:http://tinyurl.com/ju8mchv
It would seem to me that this issue could be challenged in court. Why is a property owner burdened with the expense of repairing a sidewalk on one corner, while the property owner directly across the intersection isn't required to have any sidewalks? Can a property owner remove his sidewalks completely to avoid the expense, if the property owner on the other side of the street isn't legally required to have a sidewalk at all?
The other issue here is the situation where the City is bearing the expense of replacing sidewalks completely in some older neighborhoods, yet if you live in another part of the City, and have a sidewalk that needs replacing, the City is requiring you to pay to fix it? Where is the equity there?
Granted, I realize that in many neighborhoods where the City is paying to replace the sidewalks, the residents are too poor to bear the expense. I understand that. However, there are also situations in other parts of the City where an individual homeowner if forced by the City to fix their sidewalk, and they might be just as poor.
This is an example of a inequity, or double standard.
That is why I think the City should be responsible for sidewalks as part of infrastructure of the street.
The other issue is the unfair situation of some neighborhoods having sidewalks and others having none at all. If you are going to require property owners in one part of the city to have a functional and safe sidewalk, then all property owners in the City should be required to have a sidewalk.
My block recently had some type of utility update. They dug up the strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk along one side of the entire block. In some places they dug pretty deep--adjacent to the sidewalk, and when they were done, they filled the hole in. That dirt is now disturbed and will settle over time. Since the holes they dug were up against the existing sidewalk--disturbing the long-settled dirt will create situations where after settling, the sidewalks might start to shift and become uneven. Is the homeowner now responsible for fixing their sidewalk after this utility work caused the problem?