Bill Spaulding takes a break from clearing snow from his driveway to wait for the Bangor Public Works machine to battle its way through the massive snowbank the morning of March 14, 2018. Credit: Gabor Degre

To keep Bangor’s sidewalks reasonably clear of snow and ice this winter, city officials are considering prohibiting the piling of snow on any public walkway, as well as increasing fines for residents, business and property owners who fail to clear the sidewalks in front of their buildings.

The proposed ordinance includes increasing the current $20 fine to $100 for any tenant, building or business owner in the city who fails to remove snow that has been piled — either by shoveling or another means — onto adjacent sidewalks, streets, and public areas. Residents are not required, in general, to shovel sidewalks each time it snows.

Even though the first snow won’t fly for a few months, the pre-emptive ordinance change is necessary, said Councilor Laura Supica, who has been a major proponent in the campaign to improve pedestrian accessibility on sidewalks during the winter.

“The city has been hearing from a lot of citizens about it being a concern. It’s a first step in trying to do something proactive,” Supica said at Monday’s council meeting.

Business and property owners downtown are already required to clear the snow in front of their buildings and face a $100 fine for not doing so within six hours after precipitation has stopped, according to the city’s Code of Ordinances. Elsewhere in the city, it’s currently an enforceable offense to pile snow on a city street, lane or public square, but no language prohibits snow on sidewalks.

In addition to the increased fine, the new ordinance would also allow the city to intervene and remove piled snow from public walkways and streets, and bill the person or company that left it there.

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