Ann Arbor Issuing Tickets for Snowy Sidewalks

February 12, 2014

Snow-covered sidewalks in Ann Arbor are proving costly for property owners who allow the snow to pile up.

City community standards officers have handed out 438 notices and ticketed 44 home and business owners for not shoveling snow from sidewalks since Dec. 1, The Ann Arbor News reported on Sunday.

The physically disabled are among those who have a difficult time navigating snowy walkways.

“In between two clear sidewalks was a mass of untreated snow,” said Lloyd Shelton, describing one journey off the University of Michigan campus in his power wheelchair. “Luckily, someone from the grounds crew was nearby and she used her machine to clear a path for me.”

Ann Arbor, in southeast Michigan, requires snow to be cleared within 24 hours when more than one inch accumulates. Notices are left with property owners who fail to shovel or plow sidewalks. Tickets typically are issued 24 hours later if the walks still are covered, and fines can reach $500.

“They don’t shovel, and you would just think that people would just know other people need to use the sidewalk in front of their properties,” said Jessie Rogers, Ann Arbor community standards supervisor.

Rhoda Miel said she and her running club use the University of Michigan campus to run because shoveling efforts on many city sidewalks “are pathetic.”

Many cities across the state have seen record snowfall this winter and below-freezing temperatures that have not allowed much of the snow to melt.

Van Thornton, a building official in southwestern Michigan’s Benton Harbor, even went door-to-door to get some to comply with that city’s ordinance, according to the Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph. Thornton also left notices warning those who weren’t home or at their shops to clear the snow or face a ticket.

“We’re not trying to create more issues. We’re trying to get people to comply,” Thornton said.

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