Lansing Eyeing Tougher Snow Removal Policy

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The City of Lansing's snow removal ordinance could be getting tougher.

It came under fire at Monday's city council meeting, as Mayor Virg Bernero called the policy a "bureaucratic nightmare."

Residents currently have 24 hours to remove snow from their sidewalks before the city will send a written warning. After receiving that notice, they have another 24 hours to clear snow before the city will do it for them and charge.

The council is talking about eliminate those written warnings, or shortening the warning period.

"The whole program was meant to provide a clear passage, a safe passage," Public Service Director Chad Gamble said.

Gamble says walkers don't always get that with the current ordinance. If Lansing had a storm ending Sunday morning and you add together all the time it takes to inspect properties, mail warnings and have those warnings received, Gamble says the earliest crews could take action is Thursday night.

That leaves pedestrians in danger, he says.

"The complaints are coming in, they're not thousands, but there are complaints coming in," Gamble added.

Lansing resident John Gardner feels cutting out a written warning would be unfair. At least five homes on his block are empty, others are owned by elderly people, who struggle with snow removal.

"They need to give people time to make arrangements before they ticket them," Gardner said.

Gardner does his part to help, snow blowing neighbors sidewalks, but worries what will happen if the city policy changes.

"That's a high end ticket and people just don't have the money," he said.

Other residents say the city is operating on a double standard. They say city streets don't get plowed right away, so Lansing shouldn't demand the same from them.

City leaders say this isn't about fines, this is about results.

"Children, the elderly, people in general will search for a different place to walk, a lot of times that may be the street," Gamble said.

Lansing sent out 200 snow violation notices this winter season, but ticketed just three people.

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