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L.A. may stop footing bills for sidewalk and driveway repairs

May 9, 2010 |  7:53 am


For 15 years, InJu Sturgeon pleaded with the city of Los Angeles to repair the treacherously slanted, cracked and crumbled sidewalk in front of her house in Palms. "I offered to pay 50%," she said. "I even threatened to sue them."

But the burden of mending pavement that has been cracked or lifted by expanding tree roots could soon fall to her — and tens of thousands of other Los Angeles property owners.

With cash in short supply, Los Angeles may soon end its policy of repairing sidewalks and driveways at city expense. This month, the City Council will consider repealing a 1974 ordinance that made the city responsible for sidewalk repairs, a policy that was initiated with a grant of federal funds. That pot of money, however, dried up long ago.

"We have no ability to perform these repairs," said Councilman Bernard C. Parks, chairman of the council's budget and finance committee. "The money ran out in the mid-1970s, yet the city has continued to hold itself responsible."

The real-estate industry is girding for a fight. Realtors say the city has done a poor job of explaining its plans to neighborhood councils and homeowners, even though the change could cost many property owners thousands of dollars each.

Read the full story here.

--Martha Groves

Photo: A bicyclist passes a damaged sidewalk. Driveway repairs would also be affected by the plan. (Los Angeles Times, Genaro Molina / May 5, 2010)