Lansing Eyeing Tougher Snow Removal Policy

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

"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, the earliest crews could take action is Thursday night."

Chad Gamble - Lansing Public Service Director
 

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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  • by Lori Location: Lansing on Mar 1, 2013 at 09:44 AM
    All Lansing's ordinances do is to pit neighbor against neighbor. The only ones who end up getting ticketed/fined are those with squeaky neighbors. I have never seen anyone from the City come out to inspect properties. What happens is that people attend "neighborhood association meetings" where they write down complaints about specific neighbors/addresses and then those complaints are addressed. This happened to us on a Sunday. On Mother's Day, of all days of the year. The Lansing City Police arrived at my doorstep to tell us that we could no longer park our car on our own property. Yadda yadda yadda. This was MOTHER'S DAY, mind you! And I'll tell you what you can do with your Dangerous Dog Ordiance, too!
  • by Mary Anne Location: Haslett on Feb 28, 2013 at 07:45 AM
    I lived all my life in Lansing until 3 years ago. There was a time when the city of Lansing even plowed the sidewalks; they plowed the streets IMMEDIATELY after a snow storm including side streets. But today, we constantly are asked to pay more and get fewer and fewer services no matter where we live. What exactly do we get for the taxes that we are expected to pay for today? We are threatened with dropping of police and fire protection if we don't pay more; the roads won't be fixed unless we pay more; and now, if you don't clean your sidewalk or find someone to help you, a fine will be levied against you and added to your property tax if you can't afford to pay it. Home owners will give up; Lansing will have a majority of renters like Flint and Detroit when more home owners get fed up and have to leave. THEN try to get landlords to maintain property. At this rate, I expect that someday the roads won't be plowed and we'll have to do our own.
  • by Connie Location: Lansing on Feb 27, 2013 at 04:39 PM
    Really? The city doesn't have money for police yet they have money to track down all the home owners who don't shovel their walks? How about making sure the city gets the streets plowed on time first?
  • by JOHN GARDNER Location: Lansing on Feb 27, 2013 at 02:07 PM
    The article forgot to mention that my BROTHER,has done this for 13 years. This morning,he beat me to the punch,and plowed the length of our street(BOTH SIDES),and Parker,as well. What amounts I could do,was hampered by the thick,wet snow clogging my snow blower! So,we had it covered,for the sake of our neighbors. No snowy sidewalks,here!
  • by A Patriot Location: Lansing on Feb 27, 2013 at 07:04 AM
    Maybe the city should give itself a fine for the Michigan Avenue clean up. In front of Sparrow Hospital the snow as not removed and driving was hazardous. Ambulances were forced to "speed" down Michigan at 20 mph. But the city thinks it would be better to hassle the home owners for walks than clean up the city's streets.
  • by Robert Location: Old Town on Feb 27, 2013 at 06:59 AM
    I think that considering shortening of the 24 hour time frame and/or doing away with the warning is ridiculous! My elderly neighbors cannot afford this, nor should they be stressed out from it! You are always going to get complaints--as you cannot please everyone. Are the complaints coming in from those that own a home? Do they homstead here in Lansing? Are they the ones that take pride in their property and care about those that are around them, and in their welfare? Or are they from a renter, without a vehicle ... that is here temp? Chad Gamble seems to not have enough real issues or concerns on his workload ... these few complaints do not nearly justify the possible burden this could impose on those that do LIVE in our community!
  • by mike Location: lansing on Feb 27, 2013 at 06:46 AM
    Thats all fine but the city best be doing thair part,including walks.
  • by Name Location: Location on Feb 27, 2013 at 06:21 AM
    Why not give a property one written warning for the year. Then 24 hours after the first snow, the crews hit those propertys and start issueing warnings of neighboring properties. That way, the sidewalk will get cleared in some manner.
  • by Sue Location: S. Lansing on Feb 27, 2013 at 01:46 AM
    Part of being a neighbor is snow removal for senior neighbors and foreclosed/empty homes as well as your property. It goes hand and hand with watching out for the neighborhood kids, taking food to elderly or sick neighbors and in general helping in any way you can without stepping on their privacy. We have empty homes on our street and you would never know it - we park our cars in drive, keep snow removed, bushes and lawn cared for etc. until a new family moves in. We don't look to City government. They have more important things to do like keep police and fire going, plowing the streets and balancing the budget. And yes, I have been known to snow blow the street at times and all of a sudden I had helpers. Not only does it help the cars, it keeps the end of your drive from being packed with snow when the plows come thru. The people and kids that watch out the window will all of a sudden be there for YOU when the time comes. Set an example and raise the bar high. It is called responsibility and what goes round comes round.
  • by greg wesley Location: south lansing on Feb 26, 2013 at 10:09 PM
    i am not happy with the way snow removal is handled in Lansing i try to remove it as soon as possible but like to wait for the plow trucks to do the road first or will have to do my driveway & sidewalk a second time and their are 2 other problem the sidewalk on my side of the street it is not finished it stops 2 house to the east of me so people using the sidewalk have to go in to the street to get to the next corner the north side of my street is not complete it would be nice if one side of Northrup st had a complete side walk and who is to take care of the empty houses that no one lives in thank's Greg W (:>
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