Narrow Victory for Sidewalk Ordinance

Narrow Victory for Sidewalk Ordinance Click to Enlarge Photo:

Jul 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm

ST. CLOUD (KNSI) - A push to change an ordinance on sidewalk construction and improvements has cleared the St. Cloud City Council on a 4-3 vote.

The council heard and responded to testimony on the devisive issue during their Monday night meeting. Council members Jeff Johnson, Nancy Gohman and George Hontos were the 'no' votes.

Under the new ordinance, sidewalks will be required as part of construction efforts in residential areas. 

The issue caused a stir during the public hearing portion of the meeting, as around 20 residents rose to express opinions on both sides of the issue.

Supporters, including representatives from the medical community, cited public health, neighborhood connectivity and safety as reasons why they view sidewalks as crucial components of neighborhoods. 

Opponents expressed their opinion that changing the ordinance places too much power into the hands of the city. Neighborhoods will be required to obtain a variance to avoid sidewalk construction, as opposed to a simple request of the city that sidewalks not be included in development plans. 

Some also worried that construction of sidewalks could require cutting down established trees.

Last month, the St. Cloud Planning Commission made a recommendation to the council to approve the ordinance change. 

Under the change, sidewalks will now be planned alongside road construction efforts, and associated costs will not be assessed to homeowners.


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