The Salt Lake City Council may revise its snow ordinance. During January, the city has been hammered by large snow storms and freezing rain, leading to an increased need for removal by residents. The ordinance says sidewalks must be completely cleaned within 24 hours after a storm ends.
The ordinance calls for a $50 ticket to be issued if the snow and ice is not removed. And not just shoved aside - sidewalks must be thoroughly cleaned. If a resident lives on a lot that is larger or has sidewalks on two sides of the property that total more than 200 feet, the fine begins at $100. If 48 hours go by, the fine grows to $75 - $150. After 72 hours, the fine grows to $100 per sidewalk of 200 feet or less or $200 if you have more than 200 feet. You can receive multiple fines for a single storm, and you can get fined for snow and ice build up from earlier storms.
Enforcement is based on complaints from people who cannot access the sidewalk, leading to uneven enforcement. Some people have been ticketed for a dusting of snow and others are never cited because no one has complained.
Council member Charlie Luke believes enforcement may be unfair. “If someone has made a good-faith effort, they shouldn’t be penalized. The purpose is not to penalize the people who try.” In the end, the decision about who gets cited or not is a judgment call by officers who are enforcing the ordinance.
The city may formulate a procedure that would clarify the ordinance and create a graduated citation standard that would be fair to those who actively work at keeping their sidewalks clear and accessible, and penalizing those who do not. Other possible changes include giving enforcement officers more discretion and increasing fines for people with multiple offenses.
The ordinance was adopted in 2010.
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Source: Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City