Sidewalk snow removal notices spawn controversy

Photo by Ted Lutz — Crissy Paul, left, and Tina Gentile, right, recently received a “notice to comply” with the Kane borough ordinance on sidewalk snow removal. They complained about the notices earlier this week at a Kane Borough Council workshop.
Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

Like many municipalities, Kane has an ordinance that requires residents and businesses to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks.
Failure to abide by this ordinance could lead to fines or legal action in Kane District Court.
Before issuing fines or proceeding to court to enforce the ordinance, Kane Borough Manager Don Payne has been mailing a “notice to comply” to alleged violators of the law.
“I want compliance,” Payne said Friday in justifying the issuance of the notices to those who fail to follow the ordinance.
He estimates that he has mailed out more than 100 “notices to comply” during the current winter season.
Crissy Paul and Tina Gentile— two Bayard Street residents who received notices by mail— criticized the letters in comments earlier this week at a Kane Borough Council workshop.
Paul claims the notices “make no sense” because they are not being received in a timely fashion. “It’s ridiculous,” she said.
Paul said residents in Kane who work do not have sufficient time to meet the guidelines set forth in the ordinance for snow and ice removal on sidewalks.
“This is Kane,” she said. “It snows every day.”
Payne, who did not attend the workshop due to illness, agreed that “a timing issue” with mail brings the notices to alleged violators days after a snowstorm.
He said the notices could be hand-delivered in the future if the borough is successful in hiring a part-time code-enforcement officer.
The borough has advertised for candidates for the position, but no one has applied, Payne said. Persons interested in the job should contact the borough office on Bayard Street.
It’s been said that finding a code enforcement officer could be difficult in a small community such as Kane because “everyone knows everybody.”
Speaking at the workshop, Gentile told council she was “hurt” by receiving a “notice to comply” with the sidewalk snow removal ordinance.
“I try very hard to keep my sidewalk cleared,” she said.
According to the ordinance, residents must remove snow and ice from sidewalks “on the same day” as the end of the storm or “within the first four hours of daylight” after a snowfall.
Sidewalks in “all business districts” must be cleared within two business hours after a storm or by the beginning of business the “next day.”
Sidewalks in both residential and business districts must be cleared to create a minimum 30-inch path, according to the law.
Glenn Robinson of Haines Street, a candidate in the May 21 primary for a Republican nomination for council, claims Payne is being selective in sending out the notices.
Speaking at the workshop, he said the notices are “only going to certain people.”

For full article, check the March 9, 2019 printed or e-edition of The Kane Republican