City clamping down on snow and ice removal
Southwestern Pennsylvania is in the middle of a cold spell.
And, of course, with cold weather, often comes snow and ice that poses a safety risk if not removed within a timely fashion. In Washington, property owners are required to clear their sidewalks within 16 hours or face a citation and a possible fine of up to $600.
“Unfortunately, a lot of times, the citations are being ignored,” said Councilman Ken Westcott, who oversees the city’s public safety department.
Westcott said the snow removal problem involves mostly out-of-town landlords or building owners whose properties often go neglected.
“It’s especially bad in the downtown business district,” he explained.
For example, the area around the intersection of Chestnut and Main streets posed problems during the last snowfall, he said.
“We had to do something,” said Westcott. “A private contractor was hired to come in, remove the snow and salt the walks.”
The property owners were cited, but Westcott is doubtful that they will comply. So, to combat future problems and after meeting with Washington Business District Authority officials, Westcott said city officials decided to take a stronger approach to enforcement of the snow/ice ordinance.
“In the Washington Business District area, for safety reasons, if the city chooses to use outside sources for the removal of snow and ice from sidewalks, properties will be liened,” said Westcott.
He added, “Noncompliance is not only a safety risk, but it hurts neighboring businesses who do clean their walks.”
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