Council cracks down on work on private property

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
The city council is confirming a long-standing but unwritten policy of not repairing driveways on private property, except if the city is responsible for the damage.
City Attorney Larry Madison is drafting the policy after Councilman Don Hall said he could not find one in the city codes. In the future, any requests for work on private property would have to be approved by the council.
"We're just putting in writing what has always been our practice," Hall said.
There will be exceptions, Madison said. Such exceptions include if the property has always been maintained by the city or if a problem on city property causes the damage on private land.
Madison said the city is prohibited from working on any private property, except if it serves a public purpose. He cited an example of paving a church parking lot vs. repaving work at the American Legion. The city couldn't do the church work, he said, but could do the American Legion paving because the location is used as a public voting location.
Mayor Clif Knight said he knows of two instances where floodwaters overflowing from city-maintained culverts caused headwalls on private driveways to collapse. In both instances, Knight said, the city was responsible for the repairs.
The repair issue had been discussed for several weeks following the repair of a driveway on private property located next to Councilman Dick Carter. However, Knight said that work was done because the city-maintained culvert in the neighborhood flooded and caused the damage.
Carter said the damage resulted from work done by the state and that the work had nothing to do with his position on the council.
"This was not something done because it was a person who lived close to me," Carter said.
Still, Hall said he hopes the new written policy clears the matter up in the future.
"We just shouldn't be in the driveway repair business," he said.

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