One of the best things about Wallingford is the walkable sidewalks we have, separated from roadways by planting strips. Unfortunately, sometimes trees or hedges or other vegetation blocks those sidewalks, especially when it’s raining outside.
Legally, sidewalks and planting strips are public land that adjacent property owners are responsible for maintaining. People are required to keep their sidewalk entirely clear up to a height of 8 feet. The first-time penalty for violating that ordinance is $150. The penalty for additional violations is $500.
If you are on good terms with a neighbor and can be diplomatic and see them outside, go ahead and talk to them about trimming back their trees or hedges. I offer to cut the branches- some people are just too busy are unable to do the upkeep themselves.
Unfortunately, some people take offense because they see their parking strips and sidewalk as being their property. People can get very touchy about their property, and ghosting an offended neighbor is not an option. I’ve even had a neighbor chuck rocks at my dog for peeing on “their” parking strip.
If the neighbor is not available or you happen to have an insane neighbor, the Seattle bureaucracy is there to help. If you are on a computer, go here to file a complaint:
If on your phone, use the find it, fix it app here:
If you want to know all the ins and outs of gardening on your parking strip, here is a guide:
And, finally, if you want a street tree then the government will give you one and mark where it is safe to put it so as to not harm sewer lines:
Very helpful information. Can you tell us what are the rules etc. regarding hedges which have grown out extending to cover and block 1/3 to 1/2 of sidewalk? ( c re c)
Thanks! That first link for vegetation enforcement is hard to find, but I used it once and it worked like a charm.
No overgrowth is allowed anywhere on the sidewalk, up to a height of 8 feet. Consider people in wheel chairs- they need the whole width of the sidewalk.
Good to post this. Very timely. Not just parking strips. bushes growing from front yards over the sideways. Right now, there is barely room to allow a stroller to go by. Not to mention a wheelchair! I encourage reporting if owner does not respond.
“Legally, sidewalks and planting strips are public land that adjacent property owners are responsible for maintaining. People are required to keep their sidewalk entirely clear up to a height of 8 feet. The first-time penalty for violating that ordinance is $150. The penalty for additional violations is $500.”
Unless, of course, you’re one of our “most vulnerable community members.” Then feel free to pitch your tent there, set up your bike chop shop, and leave your trash and needles everywhere. Welcome to Freattle, feel free to stay as long as you like!
Thanks, but I’ll continue to point out the city’s double standard on the Equal Enforcement clause of the Fourteenth Ammendment.