Chittenango enacts law to quell sidewalk talk

No one spoke at any of the three public hearings held back-to-back at the regular meeting of the Chittenango Village Board of Trustees. After no input from the public on the village's comprehensive plan, non-village sewer district fees and a change in the village code that relieves homeowners of some sidewalk-related responsibilities, the board took action to put the village comprehensive plan on the agenda for its August meeting and passed the two local laws regarding sewers and sidewalks.

"This local law covers the replacement of sidewalks and the costs, who's going to pay for these things in the future," said village attorney Paul Iaconis. "It changes [the wording so that] whether the sidewalk is new or a replacement, the village is solely liable for the costs of those things, unless someone intentionally damages the sidewalk."

Iaconis said the previous law also imposed upon property owners the obligation to remove snow and ice during the day.

"And there could be a criminal penalty for an offense," Iaconis said.

The original law, Iaconis said, required property owners or a ground-floor resident to reasonably keep the sidewalk usable, clearing it by 11 a.m. or as soon as reasonably practicable.

"This says if village hasn't done it, the owner shall do so as soon as reasonably practicable [without a time of day detailed]."

According to Iaconis, the village should have gone through at least once by 11 a.m., unless there is an equipment breakdown.

"So the liability is still there to do it, but it's no longer violation if you're not there at 11 a.m. to do it," Iaconis said.

He said the same circumstances govern other adjacent fixtures, such as retaining walls.

Also changed is the ice removal language.

"This changes that," Iaconis said. "It used to say 'remove the ice.' This provision states that the owner will attempt to treat the ice so as to permit use of the sidewalk. That could include using salt or some similar kind of treatment on it."

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