Supes to hear sidewalk rules

Plans to ramp up enforcement of sidewalk maintenance, championed by Mayor Gavin Newsom during his State of The City address in October, continue to move forward despite lingering concerns.

Property owners are responsible for the sidewalks adjacent to their property, according to state and city laws, and of the 5,298 city blocks of sidewalk, only 106 are The City’s responsibility, with the rest falling to property owners to pay out of pocket to maintain.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd first raised concerns last week that the Department of Public Works, the city agency charged with sidewalk enforcement, was inappropriately enforcing sidewalk laws in the wake of Newsom’s address.

Elsbernd said the violation notices that were sent last month to property owners misstated city code, which says that property owners have 30 days to begin work on fixing sidewalks when told to do so. The notices that went out, about 300, said property owners had to fix their sidewalks within 30 days.

Since the concerns have been raised, more than 300 letters of apology were sent out to the property owners who received violation notices and the notice language has since been corrected, according to DPW spokeswoman Christine Falvey.

As part of Newsom’s plan to beef up sidewalk enforcement, Newsom and DPW are requesting the Board of Supervisors approve $1.3 million in funding to inspect city sidewalks on a proactive basis. DPW only responds to complaints about sidewalk conditions. They are also asking the board to approve an enforcement program aimed at streamlining the process by allowing DPW to bill property owners for sidewalk repairs on their tax bills. Residents would be given the option of using a city contractor to do the work or doing it themselves.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee sent the proposal to the full board without recommendation, and the board could hear it at a possible special off-site meeting on Jan. 13, or the regularly scheduled board meeting on Jan. 23.

The supervisors also requested The City’s Capital Planning Committee to review the proposal and that DPW develop a better standard for determining whether a property owner must make repairs.

Elsbernd said he has not made up his mind whether to support the proposal. “The problem is we have a limited source of funds and all our priorities don’t fit,” Elsbernd said. “I want to hear what the Capital Planning Committee says.”

If approved by the boardnext month, DPW would begin active inspection in February of 31 miles of sidewalk adjacent to private property near schools, transit routes and hospitals. The cost to property owners is expected to total $1.5 million.

jsabatini@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Basketball (Shutterstock)
SI alum Begovich gets his moment, but Stanford falls on Senior Day

MAPLES PAVILION — Generally speaking, Stanford’s home finale on Saturday afternoon, a… Continue reading

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

Most Read