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BALLSTON SPA: Complaints expose cracks in sidewalk codes

A movement to have sidewalks replaced or repaired in Ballston Spa is underfoot.

Two residents approached the village board of trustees Monday night, Aug. 27, with concerns about crumbling or even non-existent sidewalks along Hyde Boulevard, Ralph Street and Chapman Street.

One of the things we love about living in a small village is being able to walk, ride our bikes and pull wagons around our neighborhood, said Lorri Riggs of Chapman Street. "My son is 4, and we can't ride our bike around the block without riding in the street."

Riggs said there are new homes built in her neighborhood that have not had sidewalks added by the builders, and that there are also old sidewalks that are broken or overgrown with weeds.

"These issues have come up before, and it's usually when neighbors come forward and complain," said Romano. "There is a code that requires people to install sidewalks not less than 4 feet from the street. This should apply to new homes being built as well as people working on landscaping projects."

Village attorney Rich Kupferman said he recently reviewed village laws on the issues of sidewalk installation and maintenance, and that there may be discrepancies in some of the requirements.

"Some properties are grandfathered in, and it's not legal for us to require them to install or improve sidewalks," said Kupferman. "But if people alter their property or dig up their driveway, they have to comply. The planning board has the ability in their discretion to waive this as non-essential. The jurisdiction is really beyond the authority of this board."

Kupferman also said residential property owners should be aware that dangerous sidewalks could pose potential problems.

"Sidewalks in total disarray are a liability to the homeowner if someone slips and falls," said Kupferman. "However, I know of no village sidewalks where this or any board has to use laws to force owners to repair them."

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