Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snow removal enforcement in Oshkosh to be stepped up

[Because there are still many property owners in Oshkosh not shoveling their sidewalks, according to this information from the city manager and Oshkosh Police Department, enforcement of the city code as it relates to shoveling will be stepped up.]

Date: January 22, 2010

To: Mayor & City Council
From: Mark A. Rohloff, City Manager

SNOW REMOVAL ENFORCEMENT TO BE RAMPED UP: I met with Public Works staff this week to discuss the effectiveness of our snow and ice removal enforcement since the adoption of the new snow removal ordinance last year. While the code has clarified who is responsible for snow removal (i.e., property owners), we are still encountering problems in which property owners are moving snow into the right-of-way or onto other people's properties. We are also experiencing property owners who are not regularly removing snow and ice from their sidewalks. While we are encouraged by some overall improvement, we still believe that additional enforcement is needed to more effectively remove snow and ice from sidewalks. Based upon the complaints that we have received from other residents, as well as discussions with Public Works staff, the Police Department, and the City Attorney, I am directing staff to go to the next step in the enforcement of these codes by issuing citations. While I know that we will receive complaints from people who feel we are over zealous in our enforcement, I believe that the feedback we have received makes it appropriate to step up our enforcement to be fair to all. As a result, Public Works staff will identify properties that are pushing snow off of their properties. Those property owners will be issued citations immediately. As for sidewalk snow and ice removal, we will continue to primarily enforce on a complaint basis. After we are aware of a sidewalk complaint, we will remove the nuisance, charge the property owner, and issue a citation. Our belief is that we may see a one time increase in court cases, but as the community becomes more aware of our enforcement, we believe that people will begin to comply and the tickets will subside. Our goal throughout this is not to issue tickets; rather, our goal is to insure that property owners are following the law in clearing the sidewalks to make it a safer environment for everyone. If you have any questions regarding the enforcement of this code, please contact me.

[The following is just a copy of what has been sent out by the Oshkosh Police Department previously regarding snow removal.]

Please be aware of our city ordinance regarding snow removal on sidewalks and at crosswalks within 24 hours after the snow stops. The homeowner is responsible so please make sure your area is cleaned off for pedestrians to use. It is also against the ordinance to plow, shovel or snow blow snow into the street.

If you wish to file a complaint about a sidewalk not being cleared after the 24 hour time period is up, you may call the Engineering Department at City Hall (920-236-5065). You will need the exact street address where the violation is at when calling.

[Here is a copy of the city ordinance regarding snow shoveling.]

(1) Sidewalks
Every owner of real property within the City shall within twenty-four (24) hours following cessation of a snowfall or other precipitation, remove all snow and ice from the sidewalk located adjacent to the premises; provided that, when ice is so formed on any sidewalk so that it cannot be removed, the person owning such premises shall keep the sidewalk sprinkled with a material to accelerate melting or prevent slipping. Every person who owns property abutting sidewalks on two intersecting streets shall remove all snow and ice from the sidewalks bordering the crosswalk, including the curb ramp. Additional snow events will not extend the snow removal deadline. Prior snowfalls are required to be removed by the original deadline.

(2) Deposit On Streets and Near Fire Hydrants Prohibited.

(A) No person shall throw, or put, or cause to be thrown or put, any snow or ice onto any fire hydrant, or cause to be blocked or covered or interfere with the use of fire hydrants.

(B) No owner of real property within the City shall remove or cause or allow to be removed any snow or ice from private property including but not limited to driveway, parking lot, parking area, business property, or other area onto any public right-of-way or public property. No owner of real property within the City shall remove or cause or allow to be removed any snow or ice from a sidewalk or driveway apron onto any alley or street.

(C) Snow removed from public sidewalks shall not be stored in any manner which will unreasonably obstruct or limit vehicular or pedestrian vision, movement, or access.

(D) If the owner of such premises shall fail to remove such snow and ice or to sprinkle a sidewalk as required, or if the owner deposits or causes to be deposited or allows snow or ice to be deposited upon any public right-of-way or public property contrary to these provisions, such actions shall be considered a nuisance. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be subject to a forfeiture of not less than twenty dollars ($20) nor more than fifty dollars ($50) for a first offense and not less than thirty dollars ($30) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100) for any subsequent offense. Each day any violation of this ordinance continues shall constitute a separate offense.


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