Alabaster sidewalk ordinance likely to include appeal process

Published 9:54 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Alabaster City Council is set to vote on a new sidewalk ordinance during its July 1 meeting. (Contributed)

The Alabaster City Council is set to vote on a new sidewalk ordinance during its July 1 meeting. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

If passed during a July 1 Alabaster City Council meeting, a new city sidewalk ordinance likely will include a provision for residents to appeal sidewalk repair costs assessed to them.

Council members discussed the proposed new sidewalk ordinance during their June 26 work session. As proposed, residents assessed sidewalk repair costs by the city will be able to appeal the costs during a public hearing after the sidewalk is repaired.

“I like the fact that there’s an appeals process,” said Ward 7 Councilman Tommy Ryals.

Alabaster leaders began discussing the possible sidewalk ordinance during a late April work session, during which City Attorney Jeff Brumlow said the city is partially liable for any injuries caused as a result of a damaged sidewalk.

Brumlow previously said state law places responsibility for sidewalk maintenance on the owner of the property the sidewalk is on. However, the city must first pass an ordinance laying out the process for holding the property owner accountable before taking action against the property owner and recouping the repair cost, according to Brumlow.

If passed, the new ordinance would allow residents to hire someone to repair the sidewalk to city standards, or allow the city to repair the sidewalk. If city crews repair the sidewalk, the city can assess the repair cost to the property owner.

Once assessed, the property owner can then appeal the assessment during a public hearing with the council. The ordinance would require the city to hold public hearings whenever assessing a sidewalk repair cost, Brumlow said.

The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance during its July 1 meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Alabaster Municipal Annex. The council likely will vote on the ordinance after the public hearing.