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To Permit or Not to Permit? That is the question.

28 October, 2007 (17:23) | City Sidewalk Requirements., City Sidewalk Resources | By: sidewalker

Several different approaches have been adopted by differing cities with slightly different objectives. All of the cities would like to have safe sidewalks for their citizens. That is without question. But, their approaches can be significantly different.

For example, Rochester, MN has a policy stated at their web site that encourages sidewalk maintenance with no permit Fees being collected when applying to the city for a permit.

http://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/publicworks/sidewalks/sidewalkfaqs.asp

<<“Who gets the permit?
The person/contractor doing the work obtains the permit. If a contractor is hired, they must obtain the permit. If the property owner will do the work themselves, they must obtain the permit. Permits are obtained ….(from)…, Public Works at no cost. All that is needed is the address of the property and the name of the person or contractor conducting the sidewalk replacement. Permits will normally be issued while you wait.

<<“ Is grinding permitted?
Grinding is not recommended as a sidewalk replacement/repair process by the city. However, the city does not prohibit the practice with the following limitations:

·      Only panels that are raised may be ground and the limit of grinding is a maximum of 3/4” and the grinding must be adequately long across the panel. Grinding a good panel to align with a settled panel is prohibited.

·      Grinding is at the property owner’s risk. If unsuccessful, the sidewalk must be replaced.

·       No city warrantee applies to ground panels.

·      No permits or licenses are needed for grinding, however, the property owner must receive an inspection by Public Works to comply with the sidewalk replacement notice/order.

·      Since there are no written city standards for sidewalk grinding, approval of the acceptability of sidewalk grinding results is solely at the discretion of the Public Works.”>>

Other cities may focus more on “Control” and collecting Permit Fees so that, while their intentions are good, the net result may actually be that property owners do nothing rather than asking their city for permission to maintain their sidewalks. This would be one of those unintended consequences, namely preserving unsafe sidewalks rather than promoting safe procedures to assure safe passage for citizens and visitors alike.

It is advisable to check the local city officials to see what their position is concerning necessary permits and application fees required for sidewalk grinding prior to starting the job.

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