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Possible winter changes shoveled to the back burner by Pa. council

February 20, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Changing regulations about shoveling and sledding in the Borough of Waynesboro likely will not go into effect this winter.

The Waynesboro Borough Council on Wednesday tabled its decisions about sledding at Memorial Park and fines for sidewalks that are not shoveled after snowstorms.

On Jan. 2, the council enacted a temporary ban on sledding at Memorial Park because a new fence there was creating a hazard. Borough officials said they wanted to protect sledders and their investment in the new fence.

Now, the council is exploring options to install removable sections of fence in an effort to again allow sledding.

“We still don’t have the answer at this point,” Councilman Wayne Driscoll said at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Also debated during the meeting were potential increases in the fines for properties where snow is not removed from sidewalks within 24 hours after a storm ends. A draft ordinance calls for those fines to increase from the current $10 to a proposed $150.

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The hefty increase was designed to bring snow shoveling fines in line with the ones for weeds, borough officials said.

Driscoll said he initially thought the alignment was an acceptable idea, but he has reconsidered. He said he received calls from people concerned about the potential hike.

“I’m just thinking it’s too high of a fine,” he said.

Code Enforcement Officer Dan Sheffler said the current system can be a financial loss when factoring in his time spent writing citations and handling them in court.

“Every time I write a fine out, we lose money,” he said.

Councilman Ben Greenawalt said one person told him that he sometimes doesn’t go through the hassle of shoveling his sidewalk and just deals with the fine.

“He said he might think about (shoveling) it with the way it is now” proposed, Greenawalt said.

Harry Morningstar Jr., who owns several properties, said he has been cited in the past for not clearing snow from a property. He said the local fine may be $10 or $25 on a second offense, but he said state-related fees for those types of citations bring the total cost closer to $100.

The borough received complaints about the possible new fines from individuals who work out of the area.

Some borough officials said that person is still responsible to ensure the area is cleared.

“The fact you work in Washington, D.C., or live in Florida over the winter doesn’t mean anything to the person walking to school or slipping and falling,” Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.

The shoveling ordinance went into place circa 1860 and had a $3 fine back then, Sheffler said.

The council decided to get information about how other municipalities handle shoveling fines. It also asked its solicitor to research whether the fines can be collected locally without the state-related fees.

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