Northwood officials could ramp up enforcement of clearing clogged sidewalks after noting that some property owners did not comply with the city’s ordinance after the most recent winter snowstorm.
The problem, as outlined by Northwood Administrator Bob Anderson at a Northwood City Council meeting last week, was some property owners, especially commercial property owners, “have become complacent about the removal of snow and ice from sidewalks they are responsible for cleaning” under city code.
The recommended solution, Mr. Anderson told council members, was voluntary compliance, “including advertisements in local newspapers and other reminders to the general public.”
He recommended warnings by the police and zoning departments and tickets issued by officers along with removal of snow and ice by the city if necessary.
Mr. Anderson said some businesses made an effort to clear sidewalks but were stymied by city plows that pushed snow back on to the cleared pavements and curb cuts. The city ordinance makes no mention of where sidewalk snow comes from, but states the sidewalk must be made safe “within the first 24 hours after daylight following or during its formation.”
Police Chief Tom Cairl said the law did not specify how wide the cleared path should be. Mr. Anderson noted that abandoned properties added to the problem of impassable sidewalks, drawing a response from Councilman Connie Hughes, who said the city should clear the sidewalk, bill the property owners $125, and impose a lien if the charge is not paid. Chief Cairl said that the city should clear a property if it has cited the owner.
Mr. Anderson said in summation that Northwood had handled the heavy snowfalls well. Mayor Mark Stoner noted that the Level 3 Snow Emergency declared by the Wood County Sheriff’s Office last week had helped by keeping vehicles off the roads.
In other business, Mr. Anderson reported that the top/finish layer for the Wales Road replacement will be completed in spring. He said street lighting was in the works for the intersection of Wales and Access Road C and Wales and Drouillard roads.