Trafalgar council votes to require sidewalks for all developments

The town of Trafalgar approved amending an ordinance to create and enforce more strict development standards for future projects.

The Subdivision Control Ordinance amendment was approved by the Town Council 4-0 with one member absent on May 16.

The ordinance will require all new developments, both commercial and residential, to have a pedestrian network of sidewalks or asphalt pathways. All sidewalks, pathways or crosswalk improvements must be constructed per the town’s construction standards and must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It will also require all curb ramps for handicapped accessibility at all intersections of streets, alleys and drives, excluding individual residential driveways.

New pedestrian network standards were also set in the ordinance. For future projects, sidewalks must be at least five feet wide or six feet wide when abutting a curb. Sidewalks will be required on both sides of internal streets in all developments and along the frontage of any perimeter streets in the right-of-way and any other location determined necessary for “effective and efficient pedestrian movement” at the town’s discretion, the ordinance shows.

Connector sidewalks from an adjacent sidewalk or path will be required at the front entrance of all non-residential structures. When a sidewalk intersects with driving lanes or parking, a crosswalk and ramp must be installed.

The ordinance seeks to correct years of “development concerns” to create a continuous pedestrian network, Jacob Bowman, town attorney said.

There are “multiple properties” that do not have sidewalks in the Spring Lake neighborhood, Jason Ramey said at April’s town council meeting. The neighborhood homeowners association offered to put in sidewalks at no cost to homeowners a few years ago, but there were still “holdouts,” he said.

“Since they didn’t have to do it, we still have properties in there that don’t connect,” Ramey said. “So this is to avoid, in the future, any neighborhood developments and anything being built out on 135 will now come with a sidewalk. Regardless of whether it connects now or not, it will eventually.”

The Trafalgar Plan Commission may waive the requirements in instances where a park, railroad or landscape makes installation “extremely difficult,” the ordinance says.