YOU ARE HERE: HeraldMail HomeCollectionsSnow

Borough toughens penalties on snow removal

October 24, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Borough Council Monday amended its ordinance for sidewalk snow and ice removal to include a new enforcement policy that increases the fine for failing to clear sidewalks from $10 to $50.

The enforcement policy includes not only higher fines, but systematic inspection of sidewalks after snowstorms, rather than the "complaint and observation" method of enforcement used in the past. The vote to amend the ordinance was unanimous.

"If we got no complaints, we basically didn't enforce the ordinance," Borough Manager Eric Oyer said after the vote. The complaint and observation policy was inadequate to protect pedestrian safety because it left a lot of unshoveled sidewalks around town, Oyer said.

Twenty-four hours after a snowfall, borough inspectors will go through the borough and issue warnings to the responsible property owners and tenants who have not cleared their sidewalks of ice and snow, Assistant Manager David Finch said. The inspectors will likely be borough meter readers who will take digital photographs and post a warning on the door, Finch said.


If the sidewalk is not cleared by the following day, the property owner will be issued a $50 ticket, according to the policy. If the ticket goes unpaid, the offender will be issued a citation, which means going before a magisterial district judge.

Repeat violators can have their sidewalks cleared by a person or company contracted by the borough, which will bill the violator the cost of the work, plus a service charge. If that bill goes unpaid, the ordinance allows the borough to file a lien against the property.

The enforcement policy drew no public comment when it was discussed by the council on Sept. 11 or when it was approved on Sept. 25, said Borough Secretary Tanya Mickey. However, it did draw comments Monday night from one resident.

"Is the property owner going to be liable for re-shoveling the sidewalk after the borough has plowed it over?" asked Fourth Ward resident Charles Kopack. If that occurs, he was told it is still the property owner's responsibility.

Although shoveled driveways are sometimes blocked by snowplows, Kopack was told by Council President William McLaughlin that the street plowing is usually completed within 24 hours of a snow ending.

Absence or disability is no excuse for not having a sidewalk cleared, according to the policy. Property who are out of town or unable to shovel snow are expected to make arrangements for the walks to be cleared in the event of snow, Finch said.

"I'd like to adopt an ordinance that it not snow this winter," McLaughlin said.

The Herald-Mail Articles