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You can get a cash rebate for fixing your L.A. sidewalk

You can get a cash rebate for fixing your L.A. sidewalk
A cyclist rides past a buckled sidewalk at 4th and Main streets in downtown Los Angeles. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval Wednesday to "Safe Sidewalks LA," a long-range plan to fix the city's buckling walkways.

The program, initially backed by the council in March, seeks to shift responsibility from the city to property owners for the care of L.A.'s sidewalks.

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While state law dictates that adjacent property owners are responsible for sidewalk repairs, Los Angeles' policy is to fix sidewalks damaged by street trees. The city has not followed through, however, angering residents who must navigate the city's maze of broken walkways.

To encourage people to fix their sidewalks and speed up the repair process, L.A. is offering property owners a rebate if they repair the sidewalks before the city does, reimbursing them for at least half of the average cost per square foot of repairs if they make fixes during the first three years of the new program.

L.A. also will waive permit fees for such work.

Property owners can get up to $2,000 for a residential lot or $4,000 for a commercial lot, city officials said. Rebates will be available for the first three years of the program, which begins immediately.

A city website will offer information about the rebates.

City leaders agreed to a $1.3-billion lawsuit settlement after disability rights' groups sued over the poor condition of the sidewalks. That money will be used to repair the city's walkways over the next three decades.

Separately, the City Council also tentatively approved a law that bars some companies from asking job applicants about their criminal histories until a conditional offer of employment has been made.

City Councilman Mitch Englander dissented, and the ordinance must come back to the council for a second vote, where only a simple majority is needed, before being passed.

The law would apply to companies with 10 or more employees and would exempt several types of businesses, including those that require workers to carry handguns.

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