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Homeowner told to fix sidewalk or pay the city $5,000 for the repairs

Posted at 3:58 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 15:58:21-04

CINCINNATI — When Stu Spaulding bought his first home in Prospect Hill three years ago, he knew he had work to do on the home. What he didn't anticipate was a letter from the Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering, ordering him to fix a broken sidewalk outside the home.

He received a letter from the department classifying the repairs to his front and back sidewalk as an emergency, and directing him to hire a private contractor to fix the sidewalks by July 31. If Spaulding does not, the letter said the city will perform the work and charge him $5,000 for the service.

"I agree that some work needs to be done, I just wish that we'd been communicating a little bit prior, before this was considered an emergency issue, so we had some time to find a contractor of our own to do the work in a more acceptable time frame," said Spaulding.

In most communities, property owners are responsible for making sidewalk repairs -- and the city does not allow DIY patching. Some homeowners may try suing the city, but this can prove more costly than the initial sidewalk repairs.

"We've been told that the deadline cannot be extended and that they need to do the work," said Spaulding. "It's definitely going to be a financial hardship."

According to the city of Cincinnati's website:

  • The balance due for sidewalk repairs can be added on to resident's property taxes
  • There are special privisions for seniors and people with disabilities
  • There are payment plans for others of 3 to 20 years