Snow shoveling legislation returns to Syracuse Common Council

Aug 26, 2014

Temperatures may still be in the 80s, but Syracuse's common councilors are looking beyond shorts and sandal weather. The issues of people not shoveling snow from their sidewalks is once again on the agenda.

Last year, Councilor Bob Dougherty couldn’t get the votes to pass a law that would have ticketed property owners who didn’t clear snow off their sidewalks. So he’s spent the summer looking at what went wrong and devising a way to encourage homeowners to keep sidewalks clear when the inevitable Syracuse snow begins to fall.

“I’ve been working a little bit on maybe introducing something on a quadrant basis," Dougherty said. "So not to address the entire city, and not to look at every street in the city, but looking at main routes to schools. So I’ve been working with D.P.W. to map some of that out. We’ve also been talking about giving someone one warning, so now you have a warning and next time you get a fine.”

Dougherty says he's ready to discuss the topic again with the other council members.

“I think if we phase it in quadrant by quadrant, the publicity could be out there more efficiently and police would have a better chance to enforce it," Dougherty explained. "And we could show that it works. I think people had questions whether it would do any good. So if we could show it does well in one quadrant, we can move on to the next.”

Dougherty says he’d like to see action on a proposal in the fall, to give homeowners a chance to make arrangements before the snow flies.  

“And hopefully we can get something on the agenda in September or October at the latest, so people can make arrangements," Dougherty said. "One problem we have is the snowbirds often go south and don’t make arrangements to have their sidewalks cleared. It’s still their responsibility. There are people out there who will do it, for a fee of course. And so I’m hoping we can let people know that before they head south.”

Lawmakers are holding a committee meeting Tuesday to discuss the issue.