To deal with crumbling sidewalks in Los Angeles, city lawmakers have an idea: property owners should fit the bill for future repairs, themselves.
Tree roots have affected L.A. sidewalks so much that it would take upwards of $1.5 billion to fix.
The joint proposal spearheaded by several councilmen including Joe Buscaino would work in several stages:
- Property owners can hire contractors to fix sidewalks adjoining their property, and in return the city will offer a 50 percent cash rebate.
- Alternatively, owners can request a no-cost repair from the city with a 20 year warranty for residential property and a 5 year warranty for commercial property. The city will offer a one-time fix if the sidewalk breaks during that time.
- After that warranty period, owners are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of that sidewalk.
- Each council district office will also be allocated a certain set of funds to prioritize fixing sidewalks for disabled residents.
Buscaino tells Take Two that over 40 years ago Los Angeles pledged to maintain sidewalks on behalf of residents, going above and beyond a California state law that said sidewalks are the responsibility of property owners.
However, the federal money that covered those costs dried out.
"We don't have the capacity of fixing all these sidewalks that have been impacted by tree roots," he says.
If a property owner decides to not maintain their sidewalk, there will be penalties, too.
"We will have a number of inspectors as part of this plan, and they will cite the property owner." If the owner does nothing to fix the sidewalk, "a lien will be placed on their property," he says.
The proposal passed several city committees and will now head to the full council by the end of March.