City says it isn’t responsible for ruts in theater’s approachMay 3rd, 2013 by travis baker
The in basket: Suzie Womack-Pride e-mailed to say, “I am writing on behalf of our local non-profit theater group Western Washington Center for the Arts located on Bay Street in Port Orchard.
“There are several very deep and very dangerous potholes (I heard theater attendees have fallen into them!) directly in front of the building in the parking ,” she said. “I investigated and learned this area is within a 75-foot right-of-way deeded in 1886.
“I contacted the city of Port Orchard’s public works director
and he said they would not be filling the pot holes as ‘they
do not necessarily maintain their right of way.’
“I assumed once the city learned of a potential danger for the public it would be taken care of, as it could very simply and easily be done. This small theater group has concerns of their own liability should someone become injured due to these pot holes.
“Please help us! We will do the work ourselves if we must,” she said, “but my goodness, it would be nice to get some community cooperation, especially from the entity that holds the most responsibility, our city!”
The out basket: She doesn’t exaggerate the condition of the area in front of their theater. While it would be hard for someone to fall “into” one of the depressions, they could be ankle breakers. But is will be up to the building owner to fix them.
Mark Dorsey, the public works director, likened the situation to that of a sidewalk, for which the abutting landowner is responsible if it deteriorates – or is covered with snow, for that a matter.
“Basically only roadway improvements are maintained under state law,” he said, “whereby roadway improvements include the 1) the travelled way and 2) the shoulder. The state and the city only maintain the portion of the roadway included within the roadway improvement.
“In the case of the approach/parking lot for the WWCA,” he said, “two-thirds….of their parking lot and their approach is located within the right-of-way.
“What she is basically asking the city to do is pave their approach and private parking lot using taxpayer money. There are thousands of examples throughout the state where either parking lots, driveways and/or commercial approaches are located within right of way…..but that doesn’t mean it’s maintained by the taxpayers.
“The same is true for sidewalks…..it’s the adjoining property owner’s responsibility to maintain their segment of the sidewalk,” Mark said.