New Ludington Sidewalk Policy Should be Left on the Side of the Road

Described as a much needed remedy to make Ludington more walkable and improve our pedestrian facilities, the policy will only add money to the City of Ludington's treasury, while adding costs (a tax) to real estate transactions.

Definitely a bad reform from the old policy that allowed the city council to use discretion as to where to devote the sidewalks budgeted money to areas that need sidewalks (or previously avoided sidewalk installation that the old policy mandated).

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Comment by XLFD on April 14, 2015 at 8:42am

Sidewalks has its own budgeted amount, totally separate from the streets budget.   There were signs in the last two years (as far as money budgeted) that the city was getting serious on catching up on sidewalks, because after Mayor Henderson's first reelection, the sidewalk budget was at $65K and even smaller, and few new sidewalks were being installed other than a small contingent of requests in the volunteer program.

If the city had this new policy with the rider that they would add twice the amount they collect from the PILIS (i.e. enough to cover the installation of sidewalks in the sold properties) onto the sidewalk budget, so that the sidewalks would be installed ASAP, I think it would have some merit.  But no, our kids are walking to school in the streets because homeowners want their impeding landscaping across the public right of way and the City of Ludington wants to keep making obscene profits.

Comment by AQUAMAN on April 13, 2015 at 11:38pm

How much is budgeted for sidewalks, or is it part of streets and sidewalks? Last I knew, out of an almost $4 Million budget, only $65K was budgeted as such. That's about 1.5%. Does that sound like good infrastructure mgmt. budgeting? Councilor Castonia thinks so, and doesn't want anyone touching those $10 Million coffers that just sit and waste away, and keep piling up higher every year. And for what may I ask? This city could have many new and improved sidewalks and streets, if only the budget was for about 15%, $650K instead of a paltry $65K is what I would propose. Jeez, if they proposed that, everything in Ludville would look nice as pie, and appealing to outside investors, but, I guess that's not in the cards for locals.

Comment by XLFD on April 13, 2015 at 10:14am

A vast improvement to the policy would have been for the city public safety/utility committee study where the community needed sidewalks (by schools, parks, downtown areas, and other critical high pedestrian-use areas) and publish those findings, and develop a plan of attack which could have been discussed at an open meeting with the public. 

State Proposal 15-1 and this law have several things in common, and one could make a civil case that the payment in lieu of installing a sidewalk (PILIS) is more of a penalty, tax or fee, rather than the harmless extra $1000+ payment made to get  sidewalk that may never come.  The ordinance leaves out any sort of obligation by the City of Ludington to ever use the PILIS for constructing sidewalks, however, it clearly is in the interest of the greedy folks of Ludington City Hall to take their time in installing a new sidewalk. 

The PILIS hit (pun intended) on the local housing market cannot be ignored.  The extra money paid by the buyer will be one disincentive, but the prospective purchaser may also not want a sidewalk on the property-- which may be part of the reason he brought the property in the first place.  I can think of a couple of properties in Ludington where the landscaping would be affected greatly with the addition of a sidewalk. 

If a buyer were to read the local ordinance, and did similar analysis as to what we have done here, it may scare them from even living in our crazily-ran town.

Comment by Willy on April 13, 2015 at 9:31am

After reading this, one would think that the great minds that came up with Prop 15-1 had a hand in creating this. Unless property without sidewalks is being sold at bargain prices this policy will probably kill a lot of real estate transactions. The lack of sidewalks is a direct result of the City not enforcing the existing sidewalk ordinance. 

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