Sidwalk Dispute
Gerry Nabours, left, and Mike Souris sit at the edge of their property line with a sidewalk that they contest is the city of Flagstaff's responsibility to maintain. The pair have filed a lawsuit over maintenance fees related to upkeep of the sidewalk. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun, file) Jake Bacon

Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours is throwing in the towel on a lawsuit he filed against the city two years ago over sidewalk maintenance.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled against Nabours Wednesday, siding with Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch's decision to dismiss the lawsuit he filed over who should pay for minor repairs to a city-owned sidewalk in front of a 16-unit apartment complex he co-owns on the northeast corner of Cherry Avenue and Bonito Street.

The ruling marks the third time an Arizona court has ruled against Nabours and his business partner, Mike Souris, since they filed the lawsuit in 2010.

Nabours vows he will continue the fight from inside City Hall, but did not elaborate.

"Now I will be working on a change to this ordinance from the inside, as mayor," he said. "It won't help my case, but it will help the next person."

City officials declined to comment on the ruling.

The dispute started more than three years ago when Souris complained to the city about the poor condition of the sidewalks adjacent to the apartment complex.

The city replied to his letter, according to Souris, telling him he had 10 days to fix the sidewalk or the city's street department would make the repairs and bill him for the work.

The men refused to pay, and the city placed a lien on the apartment complex. Nabours, a practicing attorney, filed a lawsuit a few months later.

Nabours says he is still concerned about residents who are barely able to pay their basic living bills, much less keep up a sidewalk they don't own.

"I still find it unsettling that a city can require an innocent citizen to repair city property," he said. "What are we going to do about the citizens that cannot afford such repairs?"

He also has recently criticized work along Cherry Avenue, where sidewalks have been replaced in some areas.

"The city has now replaced every broken sidewalk on West Cherry at city expense, except Bonito's. That is arbitrary on the city's part," Nabours said.

The city green-lighted the Cherry Avenue repair project last year as part of a voter-approved $16.5 million bond project to make improvements to deteriorating city streets and utilities.

Bond project money resurfaced the residential street between Humphreys and Mogollon, replaced portions of a sewer line and, in some isolated cases, the sidewalk along parts of Cherry Avenue.

City officials familiar with the bond project say the sidewalk in front of Nabours' apartment complex -- patched two years ago -- did not need to be replaced.

The legal fight between Nabours and the city predates the November 2010 bond question by roughly two years and his subsequent election as mayor in May 2012.

The cost to the city to defend the lawsuit was not immediately available.

Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or jferguson@azdailysun.com.

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