Walk this Way: Village council to consider sidewalk improvement program

Property owners would be responsible for sidewalk repairs

By Jim Newell
Review Editor
Village of Lake Orion officials are in the process of creating a comprehensive sidewalk repair program to determine which sidewalks are in dire need of replacing, and establishing the process for notifying homeowners that the work needs to be done.
The village council unanimously approved a motion at its special meeting Feb. 9 directing village administration to establish criteria for identifying which sidewalks need to be replaced or repaired.
The village charter, and a local ordinance, states that sidewalk repairs are the responsibility of the property owner, Village Manager Darwin McClary said.
Village workers would identify which sidewalks need repair and notify the homeowner that they must have the work done.
The property owners would then have a specified time frame in which to complete the work.
“It all depends on how walkable you want the community to be as well,” McClary told the council.
If the sidewalks are not repaired in the designated time, the village could hire a contractor to perform the work and then would assess the cost of the repairs on the property owner’s tax bill.
The next step is for the village administration to present the council with criteria for the sidewalk repairs, which the council could then adjust before approval.
The council still must determine to what extent it wants to enforce the repair program and how strict it would be in taking over the repairs if homeowners failed to make the repairs.
The criteria itself is still unclear: for instance, whether repairs would be necessary for cracked, crumbling, eroded or sunken or raised sidewalks.
McClary also suggested that the council establish arrangements with two to three contractors to replace the sidewalks if the property owner’s do not, ensuring that if one contractor is too busy the work is still finished in a given time frame.
“If the council works diligently, the village could begin in late spring identifying which sidewalks need repair and notifying homeowners,” McClary said.

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