KINGWOOD \u2014 Kingwood Council gave its take on sidewalk ownership and liabilities last week.\r\n\r\nThe clarification of city code came after residents Robert Jr. and Robin Goodwin asked who is liable, if someone falls and is injured on the sidewalk abutting their property?\r\n\r\nAfter meeting in closed session to hear the legal advice of city attorney Sheila Williams, council issued a statement: Sidewalks are a public right-of-way, and the public way is supervised by the city. Residents are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of sidewalks adjacent to their property.\r\n\r\nA motion passed to notify citizens in the future if the sidewalks by their property need repairs and specifying that sidewalks must remain open to the general public as a public right-of-way.\r\n\r\nRobert Goodwin said he has no problem with doing repairs, but he has not received any notification that his sidewalk needs work.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy property stakes are clearly on the inside of the sidewalk,\u201d Goodwin said. \u201cI don\u2019t think my insurance company should have to pay for somebody falling on that sidewalk. Lord knows how many people we\u2019ve had there during festival time and it could happen.\u201d\r\n\r\nCouncilman Joe Seese asked if city ordinance makes clear who is liable?\r\n\r\nWilliams said case law varies and, \u201cit\u2019s not black and white.\u201d She predicted that, \u201cif someone falls on that sidewalk abutting Bobby\u2019s property, the city will be sued and Bobby will be sued. And possibly the county since it\u2019s abutting a county road. It becomes a legal issue that will be battled out in court.\u201d\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s unless the city decides to take on all liability for the sidewalk, but she said Kingwood\u2019s insurance company would probably oppose that.\r\n\r\nCity Clerk Mary Howell noted that the state legislature recently passed a law that eliminated it from \u201cslip and fall\u201d liability. A bill that would have done the same for towns and counties is out there, she said.\r\n\r\nRobin Goodwin asked if they could block off the sidewalk, to avoid liability, during the Buckwheat Festival. \u201cI don\u2019t want that liability,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n\u201cI don\u2019t know if we can determine your liability or not. The courts may have to determine that,\u201d Councilman Josh Fields said.\r\n\r\nHowever, the motion passed specifies that sidewalks must remain open as public ways.\r\n\r\nAt an earlier meeting council mentioned some sidewalks that needed repairs and decided to wait until spring to do a look at all sidewalks and notify all those who need repairs.