Juneau Council Holding Public Hearing On Depot Street Reconstruction

(Juneau) The Juneau Common Council is holding a public hearing next week for those impacted by the reconstruction of Depot Street. This past Tuesday, the council approved an ordinance change governing sidewalk construction and assessments that could have some property owners on the hook for replacing sidewalks that had been in good condition. Per city ordinance, property owners in Juneau are assessed the entire cost to replace curb and gutters, driveway aprons and sidewalks. The way the ordinance was previously written, city residents who had sidewalks replaced that had been in good condition were given a credit. For example, that meant they did not have to pay to have sidewalks replaced as part of a street reconstruction project if the sidewalk was relatively new. Mayor Dan Wegener says that is the case, as long as the property owner is the one who paid for the sidewalk in the first place. If someone else, like a utility company, pays to have the sidewalk replaced that will now exempt the property owner from being eligible for the credit. Wegener says it has always been the understanding that property owners who invested in a sidewalk would not pay to replace good-condition concrete. However, he says the planned reconstruction project on Depot Street this summer gave rise to the need for the clarification. The ordinance change is affecting 13 residential properties on a two block stretch of Depot Street between East Oak Grove and East Center streets.  That is where a utility company contractor replaced old sidewalk with new two years ago at no cost to the homeowners. Two commercial parcels along the same stretch currently have no sidewalks. Wegener says the sidewalks in that part of the city had all been decades old before the utilities recent replacement. The public hearing will be held on Wednesday at 7pm in the Juneau Public Library.