SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — San Diego leaders are exploring new ways to fund sidewalk repairs - and it could force homeowners to foot the bill.
Broken sidewalks have led to millions of dollars in injury lawsuits and with the popularity of electric scooters, the number of injuries is expected to rise.
An idea proposed would have homeowners pay for the sidewalk repairs if they are looking to sell their home; but that’s just one of several proposals city leaders are looking at.
Broken sidewalks have been a major concern and safety issue throughout the city. In fact, the City of San Diego has faced $11 million in injury payouts over damaged sidewalks just in the last five years.
Looking for answers, the city's Independent Budget Analyst spent several months studying how other California cities handle sidewalks and issued a report proposing several things including requiring property owners to fix any damaged sidewalk adjacent to their property before they can sell - something similar to what’s being done in Pasadena. This could be part of a master plan being reviewed by the city’s infrastructure committee to somehow tackle nearly $40 million in sidewalk repairs.
The city also says most homeowners don’t know that the sidewalk adjacent to their home is actually their responsibility, according to state law.
The city is also looking at property liens and waiving permit fees to encourage sidewalk repairs.
In one of the most notable lawsuits related to damaged sidewalks, a jury awarded nearly $85,000 to Cynthia Hedgecock, wife of former mayor Roger Hedgecock, last December for a fall that she took in 2015 that ruptured one of her breast implants.
One of the largest payouts from the city was also last year when nearly $5 million was awarded to man in Del Carro who hit a sidewalk on his bike, fell off and was badly injured.
The city will continue looking at the proposals and hopes to have a plan by winter.