Wednesday, October 12, 2011

City Council Work Session - Oct. 12, 2011

Tonight the city council discussed strategy to maintain sidewalks, snow removal, etc. on property lines facing main roads.

Current City Ordinances place the responsibility for maintaining the public right of way, which includes sidewalks, fence lines and parking strips with the adjacent property owners. While some property owners and property owner groups comply with these ordinances, others do not. Of particular concern are the back fence line public right of ways along many of the roadways. The back fence lines along 5400 South from 1900 W to 3600 W, and Redwood Road from 4200 S to 5400 S, for example, has as many as eight interior homes adjacent to the City/UDOT installed fence. Maintenance of the public right of way is difficult for property owners with limited access to the right of way and the need for several property owners to haul equipment several blocks in order to maintain the properties.

Historically, the City’s position has been to send courtesy letters to property owners reminding them of their responsibilities. 
With the installation of the walls on 5400 S, the City has taken on the responsibility to cut weeds and clear snow along this and other major roadways. Funding was allocated three years ago for maintenance staff to assist in this effort. In addition, we have been utilizing Community Service Workers to remove weeds, debris, remove snow and ice from these public rights of way, however, the requests for abatement and assistance from citizens and city officials is increasing beyond our existing capacity.
The City’s investment in streetscapes is significant and the investment should be protected with proper maintenance. Lack of proper maintenance may result in liability for the City.
An additional issue is the responsibility for the maintenance of sidewalks including trip hazard removal and sidewalk replacement. In recent years the City expends between $70,000 and $120,000 on trip hazard removal. The cost of this service is paid for through the general fund. Through the 50/50 Sidewalk Replacement Program, the city will partner with residents to replace sidewalks that can not be repaired through trip hazard cutting or grinding. If, however, a resident can not afford to pay the 50 percent cost of the sidewalk replacement, the sidewalk either does not get replaced, or the replacement falls back to the City if the deterioration is significant and presents serious hazards. 
The Council gave direction to the administration to perfect the policy on weed abatement and to look at financial options for sidewalk replacement.

    A discussion was had regarding the Strategic Plan Process for 2012. John Inch Morgan, city administrator, made a recommendation to hold a planning retreat during the day in November to go through the Strategic Plan. The council agreed that Nov. 19 would be a good day.

    Tonight the council discussed a couple of chapters of the proposed Land Use Development code. They began with Residential Subdivision Design standards (Chapter 21) and finished up with Manufactured Home Parks (Chapter 22). The council is looking at ways to efficiently develop our city, but at the same time improve the quality of development and build strong communities.

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