Use of sidewalks, setbacks to be regulated

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BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance regulating the use and maintenance of sidewalks and setbacks and for other purposes.

The ordinance, authored by Councilor Maria Mylen Victoria G. Yaranon, stated that it shall be the responsibility of the owner, dweller, lessee, occupant of a residential or commercial establishment, to regulate the use and maintenance of the sidewalk, curb, gutters and canals fronting their residence or establishments.

The ordinance added that the use of sidewalks, setbacks and other similar public spaces for commercial and personal purposes shall be prohibited, including, but not limited, to the selling of goods by sidewalk vendors or offering for sale of goods, beverages, magazines, newspapers, cigarettes, jewelries, shoes or footwears or other analogue items; washing and drying of clothes, vehicle garage or conduct of vehicle repair or car wash business; dumping of garbage or litter; setting up of basketball courts; constructing fences or cages of animals or animals on leash; storing soft drinks or bottled drinks in cases; storing of household appliances and furnitures; sorting of junk and recyclable materials; and use as storage of construction materials and equipment; house or business extension, including installation of roofs and canopies, awnings and the like; installation of permanent fence or gate; use for plants, trees and planters; installation of signs or billboards; drinking liquor and beverages and holding of parties and drying of rice, corn, coffee, tobacco and other agricultural products.

The ordinance stipulated that the local government and barangay officials will be authorized to summarily abate, forfeit, and dispose any obstruction, found within their territorial jurisdiction, provided that, enforcers of the local government and barangay officials shall be free from liability arising from the lawful forfeiture and disposal of sidewalks and setback obstructions as prescribed in the measure, provided further that, all the cost related to the forfeiture and disposal shall be charged at the expense of the violator of the ordinance.

Under the proposed local legislative measure, any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity, found violating the pertinent provisions of the measure or the rules and regulations promulgated for the purpose shall be penalized by a fine of P500 for the first offense; a fine of P1,000 for the second offense and a fine of P2,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.

The ordinance tasked the City Mayor, through the City Engineering office, in consultation with the City Planning Office, to promulgate the required rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of the local legislative measure within 60 days from its effectivity.

Yaranon explained all prohibited activities conducted along sidewalks will be declared nuisance per se and illegal subject to summary abatement.

Likewise, all sidewalk obstructions, including belongings and things found therein, whether of value or not, shall be presumed or treated as trash, subject to forfeiture and disposal without need of judicial proceedings.

She underscored that sidewalks should be a fundamental form of infrastructure and all neighborhoods across the city and that the same may exist but some are allegedly poorly designed or falling into despair.

By Dexter A. See

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