Sidewalk obstruction removal program explained

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The county would like property owners to voluntarily remove vegetation along sidewalks

By The Staff

In 2002, Los Alamos County instituted a sidewalk obstruction removal program to clear sidewalks adjacent to homes and businesses of overgrown vegetation.

Clearing crews hired by the county removed overgrown vegetation along sidewalks in Los Alamos and White Rock, leaving clear pathways for pedestrian use. The program proved a success because:

•The county sidewalks were reclaimed for their intended use;

•It enhanced the appearance of our community; and

•It was a positive response to a problem brought forth by citizens, groups, and a county board through public information, citizens were made aware of their responsibilities and many took actions to bring their properties into substantial compliance with the guidelines they were given.

With the recent winter snowfall, it’s time once again to address vegetation growth issues. The county would like to solicit the cooperation of property owners to voluntarily remove vegetation along sidewalks. By addressing issues now, you can get a “jump start” on weeds before they become a real problem this summer.  

Invasive weeds will be a problem this spring and summer, so we would ask everyone to pull, spray, or otherwise control weeds and grass on their property and adjacent to our sidewalks.

The idea behind this program is to create a clear zone - a clear walking path for at least two people to walk side by side along a sidewalk.

Property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalk that runs adjacent to their property.  

Here are the guidelines for vegetation removal that were developed in 2002:

Vegetation up to 18” high should be trimmed back so as to not overhang the edge of the sidewalk;  

Vegetation that is 18” up to 7’ high must be trimmed back to be at least 6” from the edge of the sidewalk;  

Any trees or vines overhanging any portion of a sidewalk should be trimmed to allow for an adequate overhead clearance (at least seven feet);  

For sidewalks separated from the curb by green space, these requirements apply to both sides of the sidewalk; and  

Vegetation should be removed from gutters to prevent drain blockage.

The goal of the program is to maintain the work that has been accomplished with clearing crews in the past. With your cooperation, this should be an easy task.  

Please take the time to check sidewalks adjacent to your property and, if necessary, trim the offending vegetation. The county understands that in some cases, it may not be possible to meet the exact specifications of the guidelines listed above. However, it’s important that property owners maintain their landscaping and keep public sidewalks clear for pedestrian traffic.

For information on the Sidewalk Obstruction Removal Program, contact the Pavement Division at 662-8397, or visit the county’s Web site at www.losalamosnm.us.

Together, we can work to keep our sidewalks clear and safe for the enjoyment of everyone.

Residents with complaints about weeds should e-mail lacpavement@lacnm.us.