Brentwood issues sidewalk repair notices
Brentwood leaders sent out nearly 200 letters last week alerting residents their sidewalks needed repaired — and letting them know they could join in a borough cost-sharing program that would offset some of those costs.
Members of the borough's code enforcement team walked the streets and photographed sidewalks with deficiencies to identifies areas that needed repaired, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said.
“If there's a gaps, that's a problem. People may think that's not a big deal, but tell that to the mom with the stroller or the person in the wheelchair trying to get by,” he said. “We're looking for anything that's a tripping hazard or a safety hazard.”
The borough launched a sidewalk cost-sharing program in 2015. Each year, council sets aside $25,000 and offers to go in on sidewalk repairs with residents in an identified section of the community. The program is first come, first serve.
“We do all the work, we do the bids,” Zboyovsky said.
The borough modeled its initial draft of the program after an initiative in Mt. Lebanon, assistant borough manager Eric Peccon said.
Brentwood's program runs five years.
This year, targeted streets included Pyramid, Burdine and Towne Square Way.
However, the borough received a PennDOT grant for $90,000 that allowed the borough to extend the offer to more residents, Zboyovsky said.
That included residents on Cloverlea, Dalewood, Lanmore, Pentland, Grayson, Waidler and Willowhaven.
The letter sent to residents notes that a defect has been identified on their sidewalks, Zboyovsky said. That is a violation of Chapter 180 of borough code and residents are given 30 days to fix the sidewalks.
However, Zboyovsky said, the letters note that due to weather conditions and contractor costs, the borough understands that timeframe might not be feasible.
“We just want to work with everybody to correct a condition,” he said.
Sidewalks identified to have “severe defects” include those with a vertical misalignment of three-quarters of an inch or more, cracks that have caused the slab to break into four pieces of more, a traverse slope towards the sidewalk or adjoining yard in excess of one inch or the presence of small surface holes on 50 percent or more of the slab.
“In addition to the obvious problems, such as those sidewalks that are cracked into multiple pieces or are pitted to their aggregate base, we're also looking at those slabs that are showing signs of decay,” Peccon said in an email. “Just as with our sewer lateral program, if we see some moderately-sized cracks or broken sections, we ask for them to be repaired.”
Residents are told in the letter that if they do not repair their sidewalks within 30 days, they could be cited at the magistrate's office, resulting in a possible fine of $600, Zboyovsky said.
Peccon said in an email that while the cost-sharing program offers to pay half of the repairs, that means residents still need to come up with the other half.
“This inevitably causes some push-back,” he said. “We are acutely aware that we are a moderate income community, and we would hate to turn anyone away because they were unable to come up with the funds up front. Therefore, when faced with these situations, we try to offer our residents installment payment plans.”
Anyone with concerns is asked to contact the borough to come take another look at the slabs or provide evidence of the issue, Zboyovsky said.
Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.