Saturday, Dec 16, 2017
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City to issue tickets for failure to clear snow off sidewalks

Violators subject to $75 fines

City officials issued hundreds of warnings last winter for unshoveled sidewalks, and now they say they’re about to start writing tickets too.

Starting Tuesday, city inspectors will start issuing citations that carry $75 fines for failure to comply with city law requiring “snow, ice, dirt, or any other debris” be removed from public walks on private property within 24 hours.

“Our first priority will be safe school routes,” city spokesman Stacy Weber said. “We strongly urge residents to take care when traveling in areas where sidewalks have not been shoveled, as well as urging neighbors to assist neighbors who may not be physically capable of snow removal to clear their sidewalks.”

Blocked sidewalks are especially troublesome for seniors, children, and people with disabilities, Ms. Weber noted.

Along with Toledo’s specific law requiring sidewalks to be cleared, city officials have said failure to comply constitutes creating a public nuisance under the building code. Last year, Ms. Weber said, inspectors issued 300 warnings to property owners, both residential and commercial, whose sidewalks remained snow covered.

As of Friday afternoon, no such warnings had been issued this winter, she said.

The city’s statement also asked property owners to remove snow from storm-drain inlets if possible and to clear snow near fire hydrants.

“Help our firefighters help you. Blocked hydrants mean slower response to extinguishing fires, which can result in catastrophic consequences if firefighters have to spend time locating a buried hydrant or clear snow away from it, especially if the snow is already heavily compacted from snow plowing,” the statement read in part.

City law also forbids shoveling, plowing, or blowing snow from private property onto public streets, sidewalks, or other rights-of-way.

Local temperatures warmed well above freezing Saturday for the first time since more than a foot of snow fell last Sunday. The 40-degree high at Toledo Express Airport was the warmest reading since Jan. 19.

Temperatures were expected to remain above freezing overnight and throughout today, with rain further melting Toledo’s snow. But that precipitation is expected to change over to snow after dark, possibly with some freezing rain during the transition. Light accumulations are possible before the snow’s end Monday.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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