Fines for businesses and commercial properties which do not shovel the sidewalk in front of their property will face stiffer fines and stricter enforcement this winter.
The Town Council approved changes to the existing commercial snow removal ordinance Tuesday night.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Councilor Angeline Kounelis. “We receive so many calls from residents about sidewalks that have not been cleared, and then it gets compacted and compacted more until it is icy.”
In one storm during the winter of 2015, the Department of Public Works spotted nearly 60 violations.
The amount commercial property owners can be fined increased from $25 and $50 up to $100, $200 and $300.
“We hope there will be stronger enforcement of the removal of snow,” said Councilor Ken Woodland.
Along with the higher fees, the enforcement officers – who will be designated by the Town Manager – no longer have to give a warning before issuing a fine.
“Previously, they had a mandatory warning before giving a fine. This removes that.” Woodland said. “An enforcement officer still has the authority to give a warning.”
Councilor Michael Dattoli wanted to know how business owners would know about the changes to the ordinance.
Town Manager Michael Driscoll said the Police Department will reach out to businesses and educate them about the new system with no required warning and the increased fines.
While there are no fines for residential snow removal, Kounelis said she hopes the new ordinance will encourage people to shovel their walks, too.