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This winter, shovel that snow or else!

Borough OKs tough penalties for those who don't clear walks

Borough OKs tough penalties for those who don't clear walks

October 01, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Chambersburg residents and property owners who fail to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours after a snowstorm will face stiffer penalties this winter.

The Chambersburg Borough Council adopted a new snow and ice removal policy last week.

The previous policy was to warn and then ticket property owners based on complaints received or observations by municipal employees, Assistant Borough Manager David Finch said.

"The council regarded the complaint and observation system as inadequate," Finch said.

It is being replaced by systematic sidewalk inspections by borough employees, beginning 24 hours after a snowstorm has ended, according to the policy.

Beginning with the first snow, those who have not cleared their sidewalks will have a "brightly colored violation notice" posted on the door of the residence or business, according to the policy.

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If the sidewalk has not been shoveled or de-iced by the following day, a $50 ticket will be issued, according to the policy. The fine under the old policy was $10, Finch said.

If a ticket goes unpaid, the policy requires a citation be issued to the responsible party.

"A ticket is apparently a lot less onerous than a citation, which requires a court appearance," Finch said.

Those who are ticketed after the second snow will, in addition to the fine, have their sidewalks cleared by a person or company contracted by the borough. That cost, along with a 15 percent service charge, will be billed to the responsible property owner or tenant, according to the policy.

If that bill is not paid, the policy allows a municipal lien to be placed against the property.

Absence is no excuse under the new law, Finch said. If a property owner or resident is on vacation, or lives out of the borough during the winter months, they still must comply.

"Before you go, you'd better make arrangements for someone to take care of your property," Finch said.

The disabled and elderly also must have their sidewalks cleared, and waivers will not be granted from the policy because of health or age.

"Regardless of your personal situation, you still have some responsibilities," Finch said.

Finch suggested people make arrangements with a contractor, church, charity, friend, family member, neighbor or child in the neighborhood to clear their walks.

The borough will provide suggestions for those needing help getting their sidewalks cleared, according to the policy.

The borough is setting out to inform residents through utility bill fliers, direct mailings to property owners living outside the borough and other means before the first snowfall, Finch said.

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