Royal Oak passes plan for new sidewalks, pulling thousands from homeowners' pockets

Some homeowners in Royal Oak are upset and confused as to why they're footing the bill for new sidewalks. Despite their protests at a city meeting Monday night, officials elected to pass the Sidewalk Improvement Plan.

A select group of Royal Oak homeowners, mostly near 14 Mile and Rochester roads, will now have to pay as much $10,000 in a special assessment fee for new sidewalks to be laid on their property. Residents received a letter last month with an estimated bill -- and they're shocked.

"We're expecting our first child at the end of September so we decided to spend most of our savings to get more space and support our growing family in this amazing community. The week after I moved in, I got the letter informing me the city wants to charge me personally almost $9,000," one resident shared during Monday night's meeting.

Homeowners are now left scratching their heads, wondering how they'll come up with the money.

The city is offering a payment plan option with a 6 percent interest rate, but many feel grants or taxes should be able to foot the bill - or, at least, that the city should of had a vote on this. Some are now also threatening legal action.

According to the city's website, City Ordinance §650-17 dictates that all sidewalks within the city shall be kept and maintained in good repair by the owner of the land adjacent to and abutting upon it.

Proof of immediate need for the sidewalks wasn't given at the meeting, but the city says online that it prides itself on being a walkable community. They also said they'll do their best to preserve many of the historic trees along the streets.

The construction of the sidewalks is expected to happen this summer, and homeowners should expect their invoices in January or February of 2018.

You can read more about the Sidewalk Improvement plan here on Royal Oak's website