Friday, April 19, 2024

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Selectmen Reject Sidewalk Replacement Appeal

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Selectmen tonight ruled a downtown property owner must pay for the replacement of a sidewalk in front of the property.

Public Works Department crews replaced the sidewalk in front of 35 Church Lane—which is owned by Trivalent Realty—last summer for $13,503.38.

Public Works Director Stephen Edwards said he tried to work out an agreement with the property’s owner, but no final resolution could be determined. A lien was placed on the property for the cost of the replacement, he said.

Colin Gunn, who represents the owner, said they were willing to repair the sidewalk and not replace it.

“We are willing to repair what needs to be repaired but not replace the whole sidewalk,” he said.

The town’s ordinance that allows town officials to ask downtown property owners to pay for sidewalk replacements does not state when a sidewalk should be repaired versus when it should be replaced, he said.

“The key is safety, and (in a court case about a fall on the same sidewalk) it was determined it was not an unsafe sidewalk,” he said.

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said the ordinance states a sidewalk needs to be to town standards and makes no mention of safety.

Edwards said the sidewalk was unsafe with trip hazards, a raveling edge and an inappropriate transition to a crosswalk.

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