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Mission Bay residents to sue city over sinking sidewalks

Mission Bay residents file class action lawsuit over sinking sidewalks
Mission Bay residents file class action lawsuit over sinking sidewalks 02:34

SAN FRANCISCO -- Though San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood is basically brand new, there's a problem that's become so old to many people who live there: the issue of sinking sidewalks. Now, a group of residents are suing the city in the hopes of finding a solution.

In a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the Radiance Owners Association in Superior Court in May, the residents are seeking damages and repairs from the city.

"We're not asking for a handout; we're asking for a hand. We want them to step forward and make the repairs that they can actually implement," said Scott Mackey, one of the attorneys representing the residents.

Mission Bay was built on landfill. While the buildings are anchored to bedrock, the sidewalks are not, and have been settling over the last several years. There are some places where there is no visible settlement, and there are other places in the neighborhood where the sidewalks have settled more than a foot.

"That settlement is impacting the functionality, the use of the properties, it's causing tripping hazards, as well as interrupting operations of the residential properties and the business owners," Mackey said. "This class action is not really trying to be brought on behalf of solely, Radiance. It's a community claim for all of the people in Mission Bay because they're all being impacted."

One of the main issues at play: property owners, not the city, are often the ones responsible for maintaining the sidewalks. Mackey says that's nearly an impossible task, given the circumstances.

"Everyone understood that it's built on fill and built in an area where there would be some settlement. But, there also is an expectation that when the city turns over the infrastructure that that homeowners and property owners have to maintain, is that it's built correctly - that they're able to maintain it. The homeowners cannot continually chase the differential movement," he said. "It's one thing to just have to repair a section of a sidewalk. But, knowing that you have to ongoingly survey it and keep up with the progressive fall in relationship with the other infrastructures in the area - it's impossible for the property owners."

Mackey says the main goal is to find a solution to the settlement issue.

"We just want to work collaboratively with the city to get them to step forward to make the repairs and maintain the city infrastructure in a way to prevent future harm," he said.

KPIX 5 reached out to the City Attorney's office for a comment, but did not get a response on Wednesday afternoon.

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