Lansing City Council Passes Snow Ordinance

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email
Rules are even stricter than originally proposed. Homeowners now have 24 hours after they receive a notice to clear snow.

The Associated Press
George Munford shovels snow off the front steps of his home Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.

It may be time to get friendly with your neighbors because if you don't shovel your sidewalks this winter, you'll pay.

"It's a safey issue. Period," says Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar.

Currently, the City of Lansing tickets property owners a small fee for not clearing snow. But after council approved a new ordinance on Monday, offenders will pay at least $120 for unshoveled sidewalks.

"It will probably be complaint-based more than anything," Dunbar says. "We don't have enough manpower to police every sidewalk in the city."

After that complaint is filed, the city will issue notices on their doors and in the mail. Council originally gave people 48 hours to clear the snow before hiring someone else to take care of the problem. But council passed a new amendment, giving homeowners only have 24 hours.

"Ultimately, from the time snow ends until we get someone out there, it'll be 4-5 days. That's a long time," Dunbar says.

But Lansing resident Beverly Anderson has some concerns about that.

"We're gone for the whole winter."

Anderson and her family vacation and may not be able to immediately clear snow if a big storm hits. It's a major worry for many Lansing residents.

"They may be out of town," says resident Michael Owne. "They may be a truck driver. They may be on the road, and the only time they could do it is if their neighbors are nice enough to help them out."

But city leaders say anyone who feels he/she has been unfairly fined can come before council to try to waive or reduce fees. They say the new ordinance isn't meant to penalize residents but to protect them.

"We have folks who walk their kids to school, who are in a wheelchair, it's impossible to travel on a snow-covered sidewalk," Dunbar says.

Leaves may line the streets now, but snow will soon take their place. And it's up to residents to keep sidewalks clear.

Another proposed amendment was to remove the sunset clause from the ordinance. That would require the law to be repealed after two years. The amendment was not passed.

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  • by Jenny on Sep 29, 2010 at 05:35 AM
    What a great city council we now have, what a brillant idea this is. I hope folks remember at election time. These people are supose to represent the city, not try to find ways to steal money from us.
  • by Lee on Sep 29, 2010 at 05:34 AM
    Ask any senior citizen who owns and home in this town where most of the snow comes from and they will tell you the snow plows. The plows zip down the road at 45 or 50 MPH and throw the snow not only in the driveways but over the curb onto the sidewalks. Does anyone in the city care when you complain? No it's your problem not theirs.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 29, 2010 at 05:31 AM
    This is stupid, and the worst part is you won't know you were fine'd until the tax bill comes. Gues they need to find a way to make up the money Virg blew.
  • by Sans on Sep 29, 2010 at 04:53 AM
    This is a stupid until the city gets the snow plows to drive a bit slower and stop throwing the snow not only on the curbs, into driveways but also back on to the already cleaned streets, I do not think this is right. Ask anyone who lives on Pleasant Grove Road, who has to go out and not only remove snow, but also packed down snow and ice that the snow plows gives them. I am sure there are a lot of other streets with the exact same problem.
  • by Jeff Location: Lansing on Sep 28, 2010 at 06:20 AM
    Who lives next to members of the city council?? I'd like to see a group of people get together who live next to them and make sure that a "complaint" is issued against them if they don't clear their snow within 24 hours. Could be kind of fun if you ask me.
  • by mary Location: lansing on Sep 28, 2010 at 06:13 AM
    it is not about saftey is about money. No one walks on the sidewalk they walk in the street
  • by Craig Location: Lansing on Sep 28, 2010 at 06:07 AM
    This is something created with only the best intentions. 1. Make it safer to walk some-places 2. Generate revenue for the city I'll let you decided which is more important to us, and what is more important to the city. If 1 was their motive all along, this would have been broached long ago when they weren't so crunched. I think I even saw a forsale/sold tag on a tree down at the capitol.
  • by Ron on Sep 28, 2010 at 05:36 AM
    I find this very hypocritical. Every year, city residents are put in danger by snow covered sidewalks along Saginaw under the railroad tracks east of Cedar. There are always homeless and others walking in the street, and that sidewalk is NEVER cleared. As the (revised) saying goes, let him who has cleared their snow be the first one to throw stones (or, in this case, expensive fines).
  • by Anonymous on Sep 28, 2010 at 05:27 AM
    I am all for clean sidewalks, but as it has been said, what about the handicapped, eldery and other medical problems? IS the city going to have someone go around a do their sidewalks? Homes not lived in? Who will be responsible for these sidewalks? I really think these are viable questions and deserve answers.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 28, 2010 at 04:55 AM
    Those freaking idiots! What about the people who can’t shovel the snow from their sidewalk? Like the elderly, handicap, and people with medical problems. Why don’t the people have too keep the snow off their sidewalk? For the mailman? If the snow is too deep then don’t deliver the mail that day.
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