published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Council discusses sidewalks in Woodlawn subdivision
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Sebring council members tabled the proposal to replace the sidewalks within the Woodlawn Subdivision between Woodlawn Drive and State Road 17 Tuesday evening, however after council members were unable to come to a clear consensus.
Building and Zoning Director Lee Tolar laid out plans and numbers for the council to consider regarding the project.
The expected costs of the project is $35,900 of which some of the costs is absorbed by the property owner. Tolar has run into some objection from residents who do not feel the need for sidewalks and do not want the burden of paying for them.
Jay Carnes, a resident in the 1500 block of LaGrange, said he simply could not afford the costs of adding and replacing sidewalk on his property.
"It's going to cost me about $230 for this sidewalk. I can't afford it. I'm taking care of a family of four, I have maybe $20 or $30 left after the bills are paid. I don't think I should have to pay for something that is on city property," Carnes said.
The sidewalk in front of Carnes home is damaged due to an oak tree's roots pushing the concrete up from the ground.
Clark's concern with a lawsuit against the city for a trip and fall was echoed by Tolar.
"I'm not only concerned with trip hazards but we have to be concerned with ADA standards too," Tolar said.
"The city certainly has been sued over a trip as well as a homeowner," City Attorney Bob Swaine added.
Council members continued the discussion of the replacement and addition of sidewalks in the subdivision, stopping to pay special attention to Roberta Avenue, which currently has no sidewalks at all.
Councilman Andrew Fells posed the question of whether or not sidewalks were needed there or not. The addition of sidewalks on Roberta would cost an additional $11,000.
"As long as I've been here, the past 20 years, there haven't been any sidewalks there. We haven't talked to all of the residents about putting in sidewalks there so I don't know how they are feeling about this," Tolar said.
Fells suggested that a survey be taken to see whether or not residents in the area feel the need to have sidewalks at all before going forward with the project.
The costs of the sidewalks repair and installation varies from property to property. Council members felt that the costs will certainly be a factor for these residents with this project.
"Some of these aren't that much but there's one here that's $1,000," Hensley said, referring to the B&Z spreadsheet. "These are some pretty significant numbers we're asking these people to pay."
Council members agreed unanimously to table the item until the next meeting after an audience member stated that a previous trip and fall lawsuit has set a precedence for sidewalk repairs, guidelines and statutes. The tabled item will allow Swaine time to determine whether or not the suit has relevance to the city of Sebring.
Problem solved (by: Blindman - 2/22/2013)
Let the city pay for sidewalk repairs not the property owners. And if sidewalks are becoming an issue its a no-brainer, don't create any more new ones. People can simply use the current walkways and make due...
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