A Los Angeles official has proposed a novel way to pay for repairs and maintenance of the city’s sometimes cracked, crumbling or buckling sidewalks: shift that responsibility to property owners.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana on Tuesday floated a multiyear sidewalk rebuilding program that would repeal a change to the municipal code that made the city responsible for walkways just over four decades ago.
The plan would also meet the requirements to settle a $1.3 billion lawsuit filed by attorneys for the disabled, the Los Angeles Times reported.
While property owners technically own the land where the sidewalks sit, the city has long taken responsibility for damage caused by trees and other sidewalk buckling that is not the fault of property owners.
Santana’s recommendations would give commercial land owners a year to fix broken sidewalks next to their properties, the Times said.
For residential properties, the city would repair sidewalks damaged by tree roots and then transfer the responsibility for future maintenance to the homeowner.
“The policy is intended to outlive that settlement term so that sidewalks are never in the disrepair that they are today,” Santana told the Times. “The way we do that is sharing in the responsibility with the property owner.”
The proposal is likely to be controversial, with many homeowners already voicing disapproval, local news station KTTV reported.
Jerome Green, a Los Angeles resident told the station, “Who put the trees there? The city. So they should pay.”