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Council members say curb, sidewalk ordinance used unfairly

March 06, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A portion of Hagerstown's City Code requiring all properties to have curbs and sidewalks is not being enforced, despite the objections of two City Council members.

The city requires property owners with curbs and sidewalks to maintain them. Property owners also are required to repair or replace damaged curbs or sidewalks prior to street repaving. But property owners without curbs or sidewalks on their property are not called on to put them in, even though the City Code requires it.

"I don't believe this is fair," said Councilman Bill Breichner, who voices his concern each year when the council votes on sending curb and sidewalk repair notices to residents.

The city each year sends out repair or replace notices to property owners so that curbs and sidewalks can be fixed before the city repaves the street.

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Breichner and Councilman Lew Metzner say all of the code should be enforced and property owners should be required to install curbs or sidewalks where they don't exist, except in special circumstances.

Metzner and Breichner said in special circumstances, such as extreme cost, some property owners could be exempt from the law.

They said that since a majority of the council doesn't appear to share their belief, they don't expect the policy to change.

The other three council members haven't sided with Breichner when he raises the issue each year.

Councilman Wally McClure said he respects Breichner's argument but supports continuing to apply the code as it has been.

Councilman Al Boyer said he sees Breichner's point but doesn't think the city should require all property owners without curbs or sidewalks to install them.

"I'm someone who likes to go forward, not back," Boyer said.

Boyer and McClure said if sidewalks are needed in specific places for safety, the council should look into requiring sidewalks be installed in those areas.

McClure said he would be open to considering the issue again if Breichner got it onto the council agenda.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein was out of town.

Mayor Bob Bruchey said, "We need to enforce the code on those who have (curbs and sidewalks), and if they don't have them don't make them put them in."

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