How Can I Get the City to Resolve a Landscaping Eyesore?

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Question: About four years ago, my town removed a sidewalk that abutted my front lawn and filled in the area with dirt and grass seed. Unfortunately, the quality of the seed and dirt was poor and resulted in weeds, bare spots and a general eyesore. After I brought this situation to the town’s attention, they came back and did the job again but with the same inadequate results. I subsequently complained again and to the town’s credit, they redid the job once again, but with an equally poor result. I contacted the town again and suggested that instead of seed and soil, they should try using sod, but so far, the town has not responded to my e-mail or phone messages. I would appreciate any information you may have about what steps I can take in order to get the town to resolve this matter. Thanks in advance for your time.

Answer: Sidewalks are tricky, because the actual ownership of them varies from place to place. Assuming the town owns the area that used to be the sidewalk – that is, it is part of the road, not part of your property, you don’t have much leverage beyond being convincing.

If this is part of your property, you would need to look into what kind of easement forms the basis for the sidewalk/grass area, and might have a decent argument on the grounds that the city is not appropriately maintaining their easement.

In either case, a short consultation with a local real estate attorney may help clear up your rights in this area.