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A Seasonal Reminder from the Law Library

Around this time every year, I receive several phone calls from frustrated patrons, requesting information about laws related to the removal of snow from city sidewalks. And each year, I pull out the city ordinances to read from the law's text. Usually at this point, the patron continues to argue that homeowners, business owners, and the occupants of homes and apartments are in violation of the law for not shoveling the obstructing precipitation. And each year, I try my hardest to explain to the patron that just because a law is on the books, doesn't necessarily mean that it will be enforced in all cases.

Many ordinances are just that, difficult to enforce and so it is the obligation of the citizenry to make sure that they are following the law so that their fellow citizens, many of whom have disabilities or are elderly, are able to access cleared away sidewalks. For those who are caught and cited, there are penalties. How many of us while driving are shocked and angered to find persons walking in the street, many of whom would surely find the comforts and safety of the sidewalk more appealing if more of their fellow citizens made an effort in complying with the ordinance. Of course, there are those who will stubbornly choose to endanger both drivers and themselves by walking in the street during inclement weather regardless of the sidewalk's condition or the sturdiness of their footwear. As far as I know, stubbornness has yet to be outlawed. The City of Kalamazoo's snow removal laws are 33-18, 33-19 and 33-20 and can be read here.

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RyanG

Comments

thank you for the clarity on this :) I am curious , does this fall on the ordinances that cannot be petitioned due to our financial petition ordinance? ( I forget the title, and chapter)