LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Homeowners in the city of Los Angeles will no longer be penalized for fixing damaged sidewalks in their own neighborhoods.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reports the City Council has voted unanimously to eliminate the city’s fees associated with sidewalk reconstruction undertaken by property owners.

Prior to the vote, city residents who self-funded the repair of their share of an estimated 4,600 miles of broken sidewalks were also stuck with additional permit fees from the city.

Residents were typically charged $265 for a permit on top of the cost of the repair, with fees that can often add up to $500 or $600, city officials said.

RELATED: Public Works Committee Approves $10M Plan To Fix City Sidewalks

City Councilman Joe Buscaino introduced the motion, which he called a “small but significant step” forward for homeowners.

“In addition to the construction fees, they had to pull permit fees to the city…it shouldn’t be that way,” Buscaino said. “The city should work with the residents who ultimately want to improve their sidewalk.”

Officials estimate L.A. faces a sidewalk repair backlog costing roughly $1.5 billion to fix about 40 percent of the city’s damaged walkways.

Buscaino said the city’s efforts to repair broken sidewalks suffered a setback in 1973 after officials passed an ordinance that made it the city’s responsibility to fix sidewalks damaged by tree roots.

“They didn’t fund that proposal,” he said. “Therein lies the issue today where you have a backlog.”

A plan to fund about $10 million in sidewalk repairs citywide is pending in the Budget and Finance Committee. If approved, it would then proceed to the full City Council for a vote.

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