New ordinance requires homeowners to pay for sidewalks - WSMV News 4

New ordinance requires homeowners to pay for sidewalks

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A new ordinance might force homeowners to build sidewalks to replace ones currently on their property. (WSMV) A new ordinance might force homeowners to build sidewalks to replace ones currently on their property. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A new Metro ordinance could cost one Nashville homeowner thousands because it requires more sidewalks.

"I've been working on this for three years," said Jennifer Jones as she sat on the front porch of her Edgehill home.

Jones recently refinanced her house. She planned to spend $80,000 on a micro cottage for her backyard.

"Something I can retire in, live in and enjoy and still stay in this area," said Jones.  

Now Jones and her contractor are being told the project will cost nearly double because of the new ordinance. If they want to build, they also have to replace the sidewalks.

"All this infrastructure will have to be dug up and replaced," said J. Scott Dugger, Jones' contractor, referring to the current sidewalks. "All these signs, we'll have to work with Metro, all of these will have to be replaced."

For Jones, it's simply not an option. Besides losing her bushes and a portion of her yard, the sidewalks would cost about $70,000.

"It's upsetting to me that private money is going for a public project and she has to dedicate that land to the city," said Dugger.  

Metro Councilman Freddie O'Connell represents Jones' district.

He said the ordinance was designed to make Nashville a more walkable and accessible city.

They wanted developers to build sidewalks where they don't already exist.

He said the Council didn't mean for individual homeowners to have to replace perfectly functioning sidewalks. 

"In this case, Edgehill is already a walkable neighborhood," said O'Connell. 

After Jones and Channel 4 called O'Connell, he said he now plans to look into it. 

"This is a brand new law. We want to make sure it's applied fairly and that all of those unintended consequences are mitigated as much as possible," said O'Connell. 

For now, Jones and her project will have to wait. 

"This is a tremendous burden for homeowners that want to improve their lives," said Jones.

Click here to read Metro's sidewalk requirements.

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