Anyone responsible for piling additional snow onto a public walkway this winter can now be fined $100, Bangor City Councilors decided Monday.
Two ordinance changes penalize anyone who piles additional snow — either by shoveling or another means — or fails to remove the piled snow from streets and sidewalks adjacent to their property, as well as public areas. Residents, otherwise, are not generally required to shovel their snow.
Elsewhere in the city, it’s currently an enforceable offense to pile snow on a city street, lane or public square, but no language previously prohibited snow on sidewalks.
Business and property owners downtown also face the same penalty for not clearing the snow in front of their buildings within six hours after precipitation has stopped. Councilor Gibran Graham was the lone dissenter for this ordinance change at the Aug. 27 meeting, arguing that the downtown sidewalk removal standard “penalizes businesses unjustly” since businesses outside of the downtown area aren’t held to the same sidewalk-clearing rule.
In addition to the increased fine, the ordinance changes 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 — a reality that, while good in theory, might be difficult to enforce, Councilor David Nealley said.
“I think the enforcement on this will be random at best,” he said, particularly if the winter is as bad as the Farmer’s Almanac has predicted.
“On extraordinary storms, even the city will be pushing the snow onto sidewalks as it clears the streets,” Nealley said.
But, Councilor Laura Supica said, “in the end, the goal is to get cleaner sidewalks faster, and I think this will help in that endeavor.”
The council approved the first ordinance change with only Councilor Graham dissenting. Councilors Nealley and Dan Tremble voted against the second ordinance change.
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