The council had its first official look at a proposed ordinance Monday that would require all residential lots of 1 acre or less and all commercial property to have sidewalks. The proposed ordinance would only apply to new construction and would not require changes for current buildings and homes.
The Piedmont Planning Commission approved the proposed ordinance earlier this year but the council delayed discussion on the issue and requested a joint workshop with the commission to discuss possible concerns. The joint workshop was help earlier this month and several commissioners expressed their frustration with what they believed was the council bringing concerns late in the game.
“I’m resentful to the fact that we are here tonight,” Commissioner Steve McCormick said during the joint workshop on March 12. “There is a lot of work that went in to this (ordinance)…I resent the fact that we are going to sit before the council for another meeting.”
A few clarification questions were asked by the council but no major issues were brought forward during the workshop and the ordinance was left unchanged. On Monday the proposed ordinance was on the council’s agenda and a discussion took place before it was decided to table the issue.
Councilman Hoss Cooley said he was concerned with the ordinance’s requirement that a residential development is required to install sidewalks once it reaches 80 percent occupancy. Cooley felt the requirement would mean installed sidewalks could be damaged by construction crews that are still working in a development. Cooley also said he believed the requirement for residential lots to have sidewalks should be reduced to half an acre or smaller and that the requirement for sidewalks to be at least 5 feet wide was too big.
Councilman Vernon Woods also listed concerns he had with the ordinance’s language and wanted better clarification on whether a school or public building was included in the ordinance. Woods expressed his desire to see schools included in the ordinance.
A motion to postpone the discussion was approved by the council so that Woods’ comments could be addressed by the planning commission.
The proposed ordinance would require sidewalks for any future residential lot of 1 acre or smaller and on all commercial and industrial lots with frontage on public streets. All sidewalks are required to be at least 5 feet wide and the responsibility of maintenance and repair would rest with the property owner the portion of sidewalk is on, according to the proposed ordinance.