Sidewalks, its appearance, and its maintenance, play an important role in enhancing the value of property and improving the aesthetics of homes.
We appreciate the enthusiasm with which home owners are assisting to beautify our neighbourhoods by sprucing up their sidewalks. But please read the municipal by-laws and policy on sidewalk encroachments to ensure your sidewalk is traffic friendly and ‘legal’.
Home owners need to ensure that gardens do not spill on to the road reserve to such an extent that it is virtually impossible for any pedestrian to move without having to step into the road and, by inference, into traffic.
A road reserve is the area parallel to the adjacent erven including the road itself.
In most cases, it is the space between an erf boundary and the road edge and is reserved for purposes of sidewalks and the placement of various underground services.
How to be sure that your sidewalk is traffic friendly? The simple answer would be to imagine that you are a parent pushing an infant in a stroller from one end of the block to the next. If you have to duck and dive shrubs and trees and rocks along the way, find it impossible to keep that stroller moving through flowers, rocks, loose stone or constructed flower beds, it is clearly not.
This is therefore an urgent appeal to home owners and landscapers not to plant shrubs, trees, place rocks or loose stones or constructed flower beds (including a whole bed of sour figs) as an extension of your garden outside your erf and onto the road reserves.
Should you wish to beautify the sidewalk in front of your property, you are requested to submit an application with the intended layout and dimensions to the Property Administration Department prior to the sidewalk being disturbed in any way.
For a detailed answer on what is allowed and what is not, best to download Overstrand’s Policy on the Administration of Immovable Property from www.overstrand.gov.za, paying particular attention to paragraphs 63 to 64 “Projections, Projecting Structures and Encroachments”.