Powell's 2011 sidewalk repair program is slated for 57 properties and is estimated to cost $27,276.

Powell's 2011 sidewalk repair program is slated for 57 properties and is estimated to cost $27,276.

The city engineering department recommended the repairs to council after inspecting sidewalks in the residential developments, Powell Place and Liberty Ridge, in sections of Olentangy Ridge that received road improvements last year and at various spot-check locations.

Three of the 57 property owners complained to council on April 19. Council held off moving forward with the program, asking the city staff to check into the residents' concerns. Council will visit the issue again at its next meeting on Wednesday, May 4.

The city sent letters to property owners, telling them they need to repair the sidewalks.

Property owners can repair the sidewalks themselves or through contractors, or they can ask to be part of the city program.

If using the city program, property owners pay the city the cost of the work or are assessed the cost on their property tax bills over a five-year period.

The amount assessed will be the actual rate the city was charged for the repairs plus a 5-percent financing cost, documents from the city show.

The inspections identify sidewalk deficiencies, such as horizontal and vertical cracks or deteriorating concrete, and slate those areas for repair. Driveway skirts also are inspected.

Residents Brian Coghlan of Cedarbend Court and Les Christman, who owns commercial property on Grace Drive, had concerns related to trees affecting sidewalk blocks slated for repair.

Coghlan said the two blocks on his property were slated for repair because they are not flush with the blocks on adjacent properties. His blocks are more than half an inch taller than adjacent blocks.

City code requires repair or replacement for any block "whose edges differ vertically by 1/2-inch or more" and that have "cracks 1/4-inch or more wide," among other criteria.

Coghlan argued the city had the wrong guy: His blocks hadn't shifted upward; his neighbors' blocks have sunk. The estimate for replacing his blocks is $550.

City engineer Rob Rice said roots from Coghlan's two street trees had raised the blocks, making the repair his responsibility.

Coghlan conceded the trees likely caused the problem, but said he wanted to discuss less expensive alternatives to replacing the blocks.

Rice also said if the property owner has the city do the work, the city will remove the trees, if deemed necessary, at no cost to the property owner.

Christman said of the 12 sidewalk blocks on his property, the four slated for replacement are broken and uneven because the roots of city-owned trees are destroying the blocks. The estimated cost of replacing those blocks is $1,023. Christman said the city should absorb the cost.

Resident Joe Burcu of Bovee Lane objected to replacing two of his sidewalk blocks at an estimated cost of $475 because the cracks in them are "hairline" and don't create a safety hazard. He asked to be allowed to patch, rather than replace, the blocks.

Rice said he would personally look at the cracks, which can cause sidewalks to chip or shift, creating safety hazards.

Council told Rice to meet with the property owners to see what can be worked out.

Officials have said the city typically can get a better price on sidewalk improvement than is available to individual property owners. The repairs will be performed this year.

Council member Brian Lorenz said he is concerned about builder Homewood Corp. meeting the May 1 deadline for constructing a temporary pedestrian path on Hickory Rock Drive in the Golf Village development. Lorenz lives on that road.

Area residents have said they have no safe way to walk or bicycle to the rest of the development.

City manager Steve Lutz said the builder has been told the deadline won't be extended and that no building permits will be given until the path is complete.