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San Diego Waives Permit Fees For Sidewalk Repairs

San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey speaks to a resident about sidewalks, J...

Photo by Priya Sridhar

Above: San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey speaks to a resident about sidewalks, Jan. 2, 2020.

Beginning in 90 days and lasting for the rest of the year, the city of San Diego will waive the more than $2,000 fee it charges property owners to fix damaged sidewalks.

"We need to be spending more money on the repairs and less money on lawsuits and claims when people hurt themselves so that's really where I want to focus the city's the taxpayer dollars," said Councilman Mark Kersey, chairman of the City Council's Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Kersey says the city is currently paying millions in lawsuit settlements.

Listen to this story by Priya Sridhar.

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"One of the things we've been struggling with is how do we reduce the cost for people who actually want to actively go out and fix the sidewalk in front of their property on their own dime," Kersey said. "In many cases, the city's permit fee actually exceeded the cost of getting the work done which is preposterous."

Kersey is hoping his council colleagues will approve his proposal to double the funding for the city's 50/50 cost-sharing program from $300,000 annually to $600,000.

"The city splits the cost of the actual work of repairing the sidewalk with the property owner," Kersey said. "So the city picks up half, the property owner picks up half, you don't have to worry about the permit fee because there isn't one."

Right now Kersey says there are 240 people on the waitlist for the program. He's hoping that doubling the budget will get rid of the backlog. he has also proposed a plan for the city to spend $100 million over the next ten years to repair sidewalks. That plan will be considered by City Council in February.

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Photo of Priya Sridhar

Priya Sridhar
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I enjoy investigating consumer stories that can help San Diegans navigate their daily lives.

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