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Village Forcing Homeowners to Repair Broken Sidewalks

Initiative to ensure sidewalks in Ridgewood meet ADA compliance, according to village.

Homeowners with broken sidewalks are receiving notices in the mail – fix your sidewalk or potentially face an appearance in court.

An intern from the Engineering department has been documenting sidewalks that do not comply with ADA standards. Once documented, a letter detailing a request to have the sidewalks repaired is mailed to the homeowner. The homeowner has up to 45 days to repair the sidewalk.

"The end result is we get to have better sidewalk conditions in the village," Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser said Tuesday.

Somewhere north of 130 first notices have been issued to homeowners in neighborhoods throughout Ridgewood, according to Rutishauser.

In many cases, the damaged sidewalk is attributed to the roots of trees in the public right-of-way.

Homeowners have the option of having a private contractor grind the roots and set a new sidewalk slab, or they can call the Ridgewood Parks & Recreation Department to grind the roots for free but still must have a contractor set a new slab. There is a backlog at the Parks & Rec department for root grinding.

Should the homeowner receiving the letter not comply within 45 days, another letter is sent offering an additional 45-day period. Afterwards, a summons for a court appearance is issued, according to Rutishauser. There is no set fine, he said.

Clearing a 4X3 slab of sidewalk could tally several hundred dollars, several contractors said.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Elizabeth Cox July 27, 2012 at 02:26 PM
i have used sidewalk safety twice- they do a great job, but i agree- it's a town tree that caused the problem let the TOWN fix the problem-
SLDon July 27, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Valid point Reb
Here since the 50s July 29, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Have never understood why Village recommends (much less actually does) root grinding. We consulted many tree services about 2 Village planted street trees that were retroactively (many years after Vill planted) deemed ours. Every tree contractor we spoke with strongly advised to NOT do any root grinding unless trees were removed. They all said it would make the situation much more hazardous and increase chances of the trees failing. We even consulted an arborist with literally "no axe to grind" as he only consults and does no trimming or removal work of any kind. Same answer.
Whyaremytaxessohigh March 25, 2013 at 02:49 AM
I'm a relatively new resident and just got the letter about fixing my sidewalk. Get this...the towns tree is not only lifting my sidewalk But also clogged a pipe in the street so bad that it backed sewage into my basement costing me thousands. Both are my problem according to the town. The town told me it was my responsibility to DIG UP THE ROAD because they are only responsible for the pipe down the center. Maybe insead of our exorbitantly high taxes going towards people roaming the streets looking for poor sidewalk conditions, they actually help the residents out by fixing what's their responsibility in the first place.
RIDGEWOOD RESIDENT September 09, 2013 at 02:09 PM
This is another example of Village of Ridgewood government at its finest. There are bylaws protecting residents of Ridgewood; Article III, 249-24 and Article III, 249-31, respectively, but it doesn’t apply when it is not to the Village of Ridgewood favor. There are many cement slabs lifted that can't be repaired because any work performed on the Village of Ridgewood tree root system will upset the tree's health. With the current backlog, it is very likely the cement work cost and cost of permit incurred by the homeowners will be for nothing. The average cost is $1300-1500 per household; cannot lift/repair the slab(s) damaged by the Village of Ridgewood tree root, the surrounding slabs must be reset and, or replaced. The intern who performed the ADA study will be tasked next to study the number of homes having garages and mandating no overnight parking on a driveway when a garage(s) is available.

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