Imperial Beach officials allowing residents to repair city-owned alleys

Compromise reached during city council meeting

Imperial Beach residents will be allowed to fix city-owned alleys -- something that almost got one man arrested last year.
 
Dozens of Imperial Beach alleys are unpaved, and many are riddled with potholes that could bottom-out a truck.
 
Imperial Beach resident John Roche lives along one of the alleys. Last year, he was almost arrested for fixing some potholes himself. He bought rocks and rented a Bobcat bulldozer to fix the problem, but it violated city code. Roche said he wasn't allowed to "fix" the Imperial Beach's alleys.
 
"The city doesn't do the maintenance and people are so frustrated with the holes, the potholes, that they do just go break the law then," said Roche.
 
Someone recently filled dozens of holes in one alley with beach sand and crushed cinder blocks. 
 
When Roche recently asked the city if he could spend $50 on a bag of gravel to fill a pothole, the city said no.
 
A compromise was reached Wednesday during an Imperial Beach City Council meeting. Going forward, the city will allow residents to fix their own alleys as long as they get a permit and follow city code. Unfortunately, for people like Roche, the city's way is more expensive.
 
"So instead of just spending maybe $400 or $500, we have to spend like $7,000," said Roche.
 
Imperial Beach Mayor Jim Janney told 10News he will personally work with Roche to set up an assessment district, where residents can pay into a fund that will maintain the alleys. 
 
The city says it doesn't have the funds to pave the alleyways when its regular streets need work as well.
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