Juneau Council To Vote Next Month On Sidewalk Assessment Change

(Juneau) The Juneau Common Council will vote next month on 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 is currently written, city residents who have sidewalks replaced that had been in good condition are given a credit. For example, that means they do not have to pay to have sidewalks replaced as part of a street reconstruction project if the sidewalk is relatively new.

Mayor Dan Wegener says that would still be 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 would 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 a reconstruction project this summer gave rise to the need for the clarification.

This year, the ordinance change would affect 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 Juneau Common Council meets on the second Tuesday of the month typically at City Hall though Wegener says the February meeting may be moved to the Community Center in anticipation of public comments on the sidewalk assessments.