Hundreds Of Homeowners Receive Defective Sidewalk Notices From City

Full story: WHOtv

City inspectors are making the rounds checking on Des Moines sidewalks. If you need repairs and don't make them yourself, the city will, and it isn't cheap.
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21 - 40 of 40 Comments Last updated Jan 7, 2013
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LMT

San Francisco, CA

#21 Jul 20, 2010
I say if the sidewalk is my responsibility then and technically mine, then I'm just gonna fence around it so no one can use it and it won't get ruined. Haha! Little repairs are no big deal, but the threat to fine someone over 1/2" gap is ridiculous. Can I fine the city for the 2" gap that I hit going down my street everyday? How about the damage to my car from pot holes? Can't win... This economy is bringing out the nasty in everyone it seems.
Comment

Moline, IL

#22 Jul 20, 2010
just do it already wrote:
Take some pride in your yard for petes sake... wth is so wrong with making a little repair. Also, if someone were to trip and break their neck because your sidewalk was a disaster I think they'd probably have grounds to sue you which in the long run will probably cost more than fixing the sidewalk. Just another thought. Carry on with your whining now.
Not all of us are whinning...Plus a "little" repair to one slap of concrete is between $150-$250. If one has 5 pieces to replace - it is not cheap! If a sidewalk is really bad, then yes, you are right - it needs to be fixed, however, when you are faced with a job loss in the family and you have to choose to pay utilites, mortgage, & food, a sidewalk is the last thing people can afford. Some of us are simply saying give us more time then just 90 days! The city sure takes it's time to fix everything else.
Wake up

San Francisco, CA

#23 Jul 20, 2010
Heidi Ballwahn wrote:
This didn't get in the story or on air, but the city is also making us purchase a sidewalk permit that costs $20. So if the city sent 375 homeowners a notice to repair their sidewalk, the city just made $7,500, plus they might get a few fines collected. With the amount of job losses and reduced incomes families are facing, I can't beleive we have to worry about this now. I know we can't fight it and yes, some need replacing, but give us more time then!
Of course the government employees that keep track of who hasn't bothered with the required maintenance don't need to be paid, so I'm sure that $7500 is all "profit".
Dan Joyce

Newhall, CA

#24 Jul 20, 2010
Passing the cost of sidewalk repairs is becoming the standard for cities. If those homeowners pour concrete again near those trees, the concrete will fail within 7 years. Today's concrete mix is a product that will break and have to be consistantly maintained. There is a new solution called Rubbersidewalks. The product will last over 20 years. It is being used in over 190 cities across the country. The city should allow the residents to use this product instead of concrete.
Comment

Moline, IL

#25 Jul 20, 2010
Wake up wrote:
<quoted text>Of course the government employees that keep track of who hasn't bothered with the required maintenance don't need to be paid, so I'm sure that $7500 is all "profit".
Do you inspect your sidewalk on a weekly basis and replace a whole slab of concrete due to an inch gap between sections that is hardly noticeable, nor causing any problems?
Wake up

San Francisco, CA

#26 Jul 20, 2010
Comment wrote:
<quoted text>
Do you inspect your sidewalk on a weekly basis and replace a whole slab of concrete due to an inch gap between sections that is hardly noticeable, nor causing any problems?
No to the inspect weekly, yes to replace the slab. If you don't like the requirement I'm sure there are plenty of 3rd world locales that are ok with your maintenance standards
Russell Arceneaux

Lafayette, LA

#27 Jul 20, 2010
Glad I moved away from the city of Des Moines, where we're not required to cut down elm trees, nor are we required to fixed city property. (sidewalks) AND we don't have to shovel SNEAUX either. Ya once in a while we may have to contend with a hurricane, but us Cajuns can cope wth that. And REMEMBER, there are still lots of shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico.
WOW

Johnston, IA

#28 Jul 20, 2010
Wake up wrote:
<quoted text>No to the inspect weekly, yes to replace the slab. If you don't like the requirement I'm sure there are plenty of 3rd world locales that are ok with your maintenance standards
If you are stating a small gap in a sidewalk is bad property maintenance and comparing it to a 3rd world country, then you must have very high standards! You also must have money coming out of your ears...in that case, can I borrow some? I also have to pay to fix my sidewalk and don't have any money.
BBop

Des Moines, IA

#29 Jul 20, 2010
I like the inspections. They let me know when I have a potential liability hazard. If you want to fix it cheap, knock out the old slab, put a couple 2x4's on each side and buy some cheap bags of cement mix and do it yourself. Don't forget the expansion joint to comply. Mix the cement mix with water in a wheel barrel. I did a 3' by 3' section all by myself in less than an hour probably for under $30. Lifting the slab and relaying it did not work well, it was hard to get flat and situated well. In Clive, you do not have to pay for a sidewalk repair permit, I don't know about Des Moines.
Outsider

Baldwin Park, CA

#30 Jul 22, 2010
I will echo what DSM 50311 said, about two years ago the CDM did my brother-in-law's sidewalks in 50315. It all boils down to the CDM layingoff the entire sidewalk division when all of the parks guys got whacked. No sidewalk replacement crew so the CDM is just passing on the costs to the lucky tax payers.
Ask your new council member Skip about this one, beeing a Public Works supervisor he knows how it works!!!
Looks like a tax increase for folks whom need sidewalks fixed! so much for no property tax increases!! Thank your council members & mayor at election time!
DSM resident

Des Moines, IA

#31 Jul 22, 2010
All of this is very interesting and I see both sides of this issue.
Here is an interesting thing that happened to me from all of this. My new neighbor across the street (recently moved from Minnesota) made rude hand signals at me a few nights ago. I thought and thought now why did she do that? The only thing I can think of is that she thinks I called in our sidewalks…which I didn’t. So I am glad that WHO covered this and mentioned it is happening all over the city.(She may think this because she asked me what the marks were for and, since I had been through it once before, explained it to her that they usually don’t come unless someone calls and reports the sidewalks.)
The city replaced my sidewalks free of charge about 5 years ago. They did mark one of those sections as needing repair now but it is due to the buckling tree. So, if the policy is that the home owners pay for the sidewalk repair that is fine but they will not let me cut down the tree in the parking that is causing the buckling.
Having said all this…I do appreciate living in a neighborhood with good sidewalks to walk on and for the kids to ride their bikes, etc. Owning a home comes with all kinds of constant expenses…
tonytaxpayer

Des Moines, IA

#32 Jul 22, 2010
and how come i had 90 days to fix my protion and the one marked for the city is still not repaired..........AFTER A YEAR!!
Ana

San Francisco, CA

#33 Jul 26, 2010
If they are making the sidewalk the owners responsiblity to fix then can't you decide weather or not someone can walk on that sidewalk???? hmmmm Everyone Post "NO TRESPASSING" signs when your sidewalk begins and ends i wonder what they'll say then.. hahaha
dave

Clinton, IA

#34 Jul 26, 2010
Abigail Wasp wrote:
<quoted text>
Fortunately we have progression since Fred & Barney in the stone age!
Did I buy the land right up to the curb or did I buy the land up to where the sidewalk begins?
First, you need to read any city ordinances that pertain to who is responsible for what. Such as maintaining sidewalks,yard, etc.
Secondly, you need to check your property platt to see exactly what your property measures (you might be surprised) and to have your property corner markers found.
Thirdly, you need to make sure when you buy a property you understand what you own or not own.

Property ownership also includes a lot of responsibility whether we want it or not.
DMCABBY

West Des Moines, IA

#35 Jul 27, 2010
Did the city ever take in consideration that maybe the streets and curbs that are cracked and need fixing may be allowing water to wash under the sudewalks and shift and brake? maybe while they fix the first problem the sidewalks wouldn't go bad.

And what kind of notice can i send to the city to force them to fix the street and curb that is causing my sidewalk to go bad?
the other bob

Ankeny, IA

#36 Jul 27, 2010
Make those without a sidewalk install one then we'll talk about me fixing mine.
GDin50314

Des Moines, IA

#37 Aug 10, 2010
I am a home owner who received a defective sidewalk letter, and I wouldn’t be so upset about it if it weren’t for two issues. 1. One of the reason’s my sidewalk failed is that the street curb is gone. There has not been a curb along a ten foot section of the street in front of my house so when it rains the water floods the area and over time the sidewalk has sunk. 2. My second irritation is the fact that $450,720 of Neighborhood Infrastructure Rehabilitation Program funds were used to replace 25,040 liner feet of sidewalk in the Waterbury neighborhood. The average property value in the Waterbury neighborhood is $228,000 my neighborhoods average property value is $55,000. The city pays for their new sidewalks, me and my neighbors have to pay anywhere from $300 to $2,200 to fix their sidewalks to avoid getting a $700 fine and a lean against their property. Des Moines City Government does it again.
GDin50314

Des Moines, IA

#38 Aug 10, 2010
I am a home owner who received a defective sidewalk letter, and I wouldn’t be so upset about it if it weren’t for two issues. 1. My sidewalk failed because the curb is gone, when it rains the water floods the area and over time the sidewalk has sunk. 2. My second irritation is the fact that $450,720 of Neighborhood Infrastructure Rehabilitation Program funds were used to replace 25,040 liner feet of sidewalk in the Waterbury neighborhood in 2007 The average property value in Waterbury $228,000 my neighborhoods average property value is $55,000. The city pays for their new sidewalks, me and my neighbors have to pay anywhere from $300 to $2,200 to fix their sidewalks to avoid getting a $700 fine and a lean against our property. Des Moines City Government does it again.
Mike Pingel

Des Moines, IA

#39 Apr 22, 2011
If your sidewalk is sunken and still in good condition consider mudjacking. With mudjacking you save over half the price of replacement, your yard is not tore up and no permit fee. Check out PingelMudjacking.net
Tom

West Des Moines, IA

#40 Jan 7, 2013
We used Pingel Mudjacking to level two sections of city walk and front step to house. Both jobs done for less than half of what city walk was going to run me. No permit needed for mudjacking ether.
Thanks Mike :-)

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