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Highland Park Residents Take Sidewalk Repair Citation Issue To Court

HIGHLAND PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — While some Highland Park, N.J., residents have complied with repair citations to sidewalks outside their homes, some are fighting them and taking the issue to court.

A lawsuit filed on Monday alleges the giving of citations to homeowners is a system of “intimidation” for needless repairs, NJ.com reported.

A law passed in 2012 requires homeowners to maintain the condition of their sidewalks. Highland Park officials are now requiring sidewalk slabs with a ¾-inch or greater lift to be replaced, according to NJ.com.

Mark Oshinskie, an attorney leading the legal opposition, told 1010 WINS the cost of a public sidewalk should not be carried by the individual who happens to live in front of it. The cost for the repairs, he said, should be shared with other taxpayers.

“The property owner doesn’t really own the sidewalk abutting his property, that’s a public right of way. So if the town has an interest in keeping it open, it’s the town’s responsibility to spread this burden widely,” Oshinskie said.

Oshinksie is officially representing four clients and doing it pro bono because as 1010 WINS reported, he has been warned that he may be cited to replace his sidewalk but has not yet officially been told he must do so.

“I think it’s really unjust. If you come here and you see what they’re citing people for, No. 1; No. 2, if you see the impact on the large fees in town, you’d be mad too,” he said. “People feel like it’s a public conveyance and if people want to walk on it, the burden of changing it– if it needs to be changed– needs to be widely shared.”

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