Town ordinance requires public to keep walkways clear of snow

To the Editor:

As the Chairman of the RTM’s Public Health & Safety Committee, I wish to express my heartfelt concern for the 17-year-old Fairfield Ludlowe high school student who was forced to walk on Mill Plain Road and ultimately struck by a car because a homeowner had FAILED to clear the snow from the pathway in front of their house in a timely fashion.

As a Town, we’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars for the installation, repair and maintenance of sidewalks in recent years. On the RTM, we respond to constituent funding requests for sidewalks in and around schools, business districts and other dangerous intersections with the earnest level of support.

Nevertheless, with an expanded sidewalk footprint comes the added responsibility for property owners, be they residential or commercial, to keep them clear and passable of snow and ice within 24-hours of a snow storm.

The Police department ultimately issued the above referenced property owner a $99 fine for the violation and the Department of Public Works cleared the property owner’s sidewalk and justifiably sent them a bill for services. It is less-than-ideal when we are forced to redirect Public Works resources to address a civic responsibility and Town law, but the alternative would have been a protracted public safety concern.

From our vantage point, the failure to clean the sidewalk in the front of properties within 24-hours of a snowstorm appears to be an issue of significance. Along these lines, we fully support our Police department in vigorously enforcing Town Code Section 91-2, which deals with snow removal. Moreover, we believe it is well within reason for our Police Department to marshal Public Works to clear sidewalks as necessary and for DPW to bill negligent property owners for these services.

In closing, we wish the injured high school student a speedy recovery from the injuries sustained, and request that Town residents and businesses comply with this ordinance.

Gaylord V. Meyer

Public Health & Safety Committee Chairman

RTM, District One


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