All posts tagged sidewalks

City sidewalk ordinance fails, for now

Published June 6, 2019 by justicewg

Discussion start 34:20, ends 1:20:45.

Submitted for your viewing pleasure, the city council spent nearly an hour debating the ordinance brought before the council by Steve Reynolds, which would shift all responsibility for sidewalk repair and replacement to the city (as Marble Cliff has done for decades).

The simplified summary – Reynolds believes that monitoring sidewalks and shopping for companies who can do the work, then dealing with supervising the work, and possibly fighting with private companies over workmanship, is an additional headache that homeowners would be glad to turn over to the city.

Others on the council think the city should not take on an additional financial burden, and mentions were made to financial cost sharing which the city might offer (but are not laws enforced by ordinance).

No matter which side of the question you support, you have to give the council praise for taking the issue seriously, and exploring every nuance of the sidewalk issue. The discussion might get a little hot and over-dramatic at times (special award for Panzera), but it was a good discussion that served the citizens well.

Of special note – all of the council members who spoke were well acquainted with the issue, and did not ask questions that showed they were too lazy to read the documents presented (that’s a foreshadowing of a board article on the way soon).

Reynolds and Houston were in favor, the rest of the council voted no. I foresee this ordinance returning in the future, as long as Reynolds holds the position that the city taking responsibility is the best way to deal with sidewalks in Grandview Hts.

The TriV news story on the sidewalk ordinance.

Good government is not unanimous

Policy which will made Grandview a better city is not something that just is revealed to the council members from above. Politicians listen to their constituents, think about the plus and minus effects of rule changes, then present those ideas before the governing body. Some times that results in a majority vote to pass the new law, sometimes it fails. There is no problem with a council that disagrees – as long as the members respect each other, and understand that problems in the city, and the work needed to solve them, is a collaborative process, not a lock-step marching society.

The Grandview Heights school board has a very different philosophy. I has written many posts about the unanimous board, and the insulated process that excludes the parents from decisions. When you have to vote unanimously, the best way to prevent those pesky ideas from parents intruding into what you know will be a unanimous vote is to close yourself off from them.

I still, after many years in this city, don’t understand how we have evolved such different types of political bodies. It is the Grandview mystery.


City council on the Grandview Crossing development, NRI deal, sidewalks

Published December 5, 2018 by justicewg

Video of the December 3, 2018 council meeting.

Grandview Crossing development

Starts at 16:10 on the YT video. Current plans are for 50K sq ft of office space, 250 senior housing units, 50K sq ft retail, and a hotel with up to 200 rooms.

Of interest – discussion on the “emergency” designation of the legislation. The effect of the emergency label is to make the legislation go into effect faster, cutting out the possibility of residents who object to the legislation making a public referendum on the law before it goes into effect. It was explained that the developer wants the fast passage because of timing issues with funding, Reynolds explained how emergency legislation can cause problems that resulted in the Goodale Green Space issue.

NRI development

At 31:30, legislation on the NRI development south of Goodale. Council noted that SOG is not a good name but it is all they have at this point. Later they discuss the NRI plans for a hotel with up to 120 rooms, 460 apartments (an increase), and 40K commercial space.

35:05 The amendment to the NRI deal that give the school more money. This is a new 30 year TIF, it is explained that the 2009 TIF is 10 years old and NRI wants a full 30 years.

Council member Reynolds again questions why the NRI deal with the schools has to be tied to the SOG development. NRI is a major company that has no profitability issues, they can give the school a better deal without ties to SOG if they wanted. As both Reynolds and Panzera warned in previous meetings, the attitude of “the school board wants this deal, so we let them call the shots” is stove-piping the legislation for the advantage of NRI, not allowing time for full examination and comments from the community.

Sidewalks repair

At 56:40 on the video. Evaluation of the cost to the city taking over the repair and replacement of all sidewalks is discussed. Panzera is opposed, but proposes a grant program to give incentive to residents to replace their sidewalks. Discussion on the liability for the city. Reynolds says incentives still forces residents to deal with negotiation and supervision of concrete repair companies.

Council president Kearns later moved the discussion of the sidewalk legislation to the Facility committee, where the chair is in opposition, so if you want to see the city take over sidewalks, contact the council members.


City might take responsibility for repairing sidewalks

Published October 9, 2018 by justicewg

Sidewalk no on 6The city requires all homeowners to maintain the sidewalk between your house and the street, and if you get the “green X of shame”, you will soon be receiving a letter that tells you to fix it, or the city will repair it and send you a bill. The city of Marble Cliff maintains all sidewalks by themselves, and doesn’t require homeowner repairs. Grandview Heights city council is looking at following our neighbor to the west and might start taking responsibility for sidewalk repair into a part of the city service provisions.

Sidewalks belong to you

The history of sidewalks begins in the dense housing of major metropolitan areas. Most houses were set near the street, and the sidewalk was considered a part of the porch of your home. You made the sidewalk as a courtesy for those walking by, but it wasn’t a requirement. At some point it was noted that sidewalks were vital for keeping walkers out of the street and away from traffic, and cities started requiring the construction and maintenance of sidewalks (but ownership of that strip of land was still kept by the private owner).

Letter from the city

Although we know that the tax assessment from the city is an ever growing expense, we can budget for that twice yearly bill. The notice from the city that requires sidewalk replacement is an unplanned shock to most, the thousands of dollars needed to do a complete replacement can throw budgets out of whack, and inspire epic rants on the unfairness of “the goberment tellin’ me what to do”. You have no recourse when it is time to do the repair (unless the city decides a tree caused the issue *).

In order to forestall the anger and pleading that some homeowners are sure to make over a sidewalk repair, many cities have started to fold the sidewalks into the general services of street construction and maintenance. Cities can schedule sidewalks fixed by a contractor as a bulk job, usually cheaper that an individual owners can negotiate. It also helps keep the city safe for those with mobility issues, if a wheelchair user can’t use a sidewalk because of a high lip between slabs, they use the street instead, and increase the risk of accidents.

Email from Reynolds Read the rest of this entry →

Businesses should shovel the sidewalk

Published February 24, 2015 by justicewg

One of my most popular posts last year was called “Shovel the Sidewalk”. I walked around Grandview taking pictures of the sidewalks in front of houses where the owners didn’t bother to shovel 5 days after the last snowstorm.

I’m not sure, but I think people have done a better job this year. Looking around I still see the occasional ice covered sidewalk, but I also see long stretches of cleared pavement. Maybe because there hasn’t been as much snow this year home owners still haven’t gotten tired of the shovel. I’m not going to take more photos of private houses this year, even though they are not being good neighbors, I will let them slide (as I slip on the ice past their homes).

Businesses in Grandview have even less excuses for leaving snow on the sidewalk. Part of the job you accept when you run a business is to keep the place maintained and safe for the public. It is the law, and you are making it hard for people with mobility issues to use the walk (and to get inside your business). What sense does it make to put out the unwelcome mat and drive people away?

These photos were taken on Tuesday, 4 days after the last snow.

Almost shoveledThis business at First and Grandview tried. Unfortunately, the city plowed more snow on to the sidewalk after the shoveling was finished, turning a 10 foot long section into a ice obstacle course. Your responsibility extends for the entire time there is snow on the ground, “I tried but then gave up” is not acceptable on this main travel route for children walking to school.

awning 1The business at 1205 Grandview Ave. also did a sloppy job. The sidewalk belongs to you, all the way to the curb. Shoveling a small area near the building is lazy.

shokuI can’t understand why the people who own this restaurant fail to keep the sidewalk clear. Foot traffic is everything for a restaurant! What does this say about how you will treat your customers, when you can’t respect them enough to clear the sidewalk?

GrandviewAve0000This business is in a busy part of Grandview Ave, lots of traffic, which they are trying to use and get noticed with the largest sign on the whole street. That’s not good advertising when you are saying “we want your business, but we don’t care enough  about customers to keep the walks clear. Seems like somebody could slip and have to file an insurance claim (hey, maybe there is some logic in both causing and insuring accidents).

clinicThis clinic at First and Grandview is a major path for kids on the way to school, and everyone else who walks on this street. Both the clinic and the building on the corner have an icy mess in front. If your business doesn’t care about the foot traffic, and you can’t be bothered to shovel, then move someplace else, and let a new business that cares take your spot on the street.

Shovel the sidewalk!

Published February 14, 2014 by justicewg

Walking around town you notice that the majority of people are out shoveling the sidewalk in front of their house, even after they have gotten so sick of the shovel they are ready to move to Puerto Rico (do they have snow? If it is possible, they probably have some now).

Some people though just will not shovel. They might have some reason – might be too old to be out risking a heart attack, might have some physical disability. Still, as a home owner, you have the responsibility to get the sidewalk shoveled, it is the (probably not enforced) law. You can afford a house, hiring somebody to shovel shouldn’t be that hard.

I thought about knocking on some doors and asking some Grandview residents just why they didn’t shovel their sidewalk. But – people who don’t care about the safety of the people using their sidewalk probably don’t have any problem telling me to stick my head in a snowbank. So instead, I took some photos and I’ll try to guess why these people can’t be bothered to shovel. These pics were all taken on Friday, at least 5 days after the last snow.

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