Hartwell mayor, council looking at new sidewalk ordinance

The Mayor and Council for the City of Hartwell are considering a new ordinance which would require developers to install sidewalks with any new projects. Hartwell Mayor Brandon Johnson talks to council members at this week’s meeting about the need for the ordinance.

I think a number of us have had citizens ask us questions about sidewalks, and why do some communities require a developer to put in sidewalks and we haven’t. I think it’s just something that hasn’t been done. I don’t know, but it seems to be the time. A perfect example is Taco Bell here in town. Sidewalks were not around that building, around that property the way it is now. The new development will have nice sidewalks. That’s the way it should be. They weren’t required to do that, from my understanding, but they obviously saw it as a benefit to them, which it is,” said Johnson.

Johnson then says the city would have a lot more sidewalks along the developed areas if an ordinance such as this had already been in place.

What we’re looking at doing as a city is to adopt an ordinance, which is very common across the state, to require a builder/developer to put in a sidewalk, particularly, if you look at it, it would make the most sense along the main highway here. If this had been adopted, say, 30 years ago, for whatever reason, you would pretty much have sidewalks all the way to Home Depot, if you think about it. Which would be huge considering how expensive they are to put in now. So, you can’t go back in the past but you can fix the future,” said Johnson.

City Manager David Aldrich said the ordinance was good, but did need a tweak or two.

I’ve been working on this a while. I think it’s a pretty good ordinance. It doesn’t just include commercial areas, it includes new development. This would be the first reading. I’ve got one tweak that I have already mentioned to the city attorney. I’d like to go ahead and address ADA while we’re doing this. If it ends up being at a corner or intersection, so we don’t have to go back and cut it in, I’d like to incorporate that. By and large, this is pretty good as written and we’ll make a tweak or two and bring it back next time for a final reading,” said Aldrich.

The mayor and council agreed to consider the discussion a first reading of the ordinance.