Claremore Sidewalk Ordinance Frustrates Some Residents

Friday, September 1st 2017, 10:07 pm
By: News On 6

Changes to a Claremore City ordinance about sidewalks is getting a lot of push back. 
But city leaders say this new change isn't actually much of a change and is meant to help. 

Many folks around town believe the sidewalk in front of their homes is the city’s responsibility. 

But when there's damage that needs to be fixed it actually falls on the homeowner. 

City representatives say it's been that way for decades.

Sidewalks line many streets around Claremore; some are smooth while others are a bit rough.

Margie Gibson was surprised to find out who's responsible for sidewalk upkeep.

"I thought it was the city you know. I had no idea that it wasn't." Gibson said.

She's not alone. 

Many think the sidewalks are maintained by the city. 

But that's not the case for sidewalks in front of your home.

Gibson said, "There's no way I can afford it."

The city says it's an ordinance that's been on the books for ages. 

But for some reason, people didn't know or misunderstood it.

Assistant City Manager Jonah Humes said, "That's part of their property. Just like you would mow that tiny strip on the other side because that's your responsibility."

Monday, the city council approved a measure to revise that ordinance. 

Before, homeowners would have to hire contractors to fix sidewalks, paying for the bid, labor, and materials.

"All that was added was a help to the citizen," Humes said. 

Under the new ordinance, home owners can now contract city workers.

They'll only be responsible for reimbursing the city for the materials.

It's expected to save homeowners hundreds of dollars.

Gibson said, "Just paying for the concrete would be very expensive."

Gibson said even with the city updating the ordinance she'd rather not have to pay at all.

"I'm not really happy with it at all. Because you know when you pay for your taxes on your house that's already a big expense." Gibson said.

There was also a change to the drainage ditch ordinances. 

The homeowner will still be responsible for mowing them but to help with flood control the city will now clean out the drainage pipes.