Residents must clear sidewalks or get covered in fines

Craig Vanderkam and Craig Vanderkam

For Bowling Green residents, failure to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks could result in the city plowing them with fines.

Under Section 98.03 of the City’s Codified Ordinances, Bowling Green citizens have certain requirements related to snow and ice removal.

According to Public Works Director Brian Craft, these guidelines are in place to protect the public, specifically pedestrians needing to use the sidewalks.

“The purpose is to allow people the ability to go down the sidewalks without risk of falling and injury,” Craft said. “If you don’t get [the sidewalks] clear, it becomes hard to walk down the sidewalks.”

The ordinance requires homeowners to clear snow and ice from sidewalks bordering their property within 24 hours of the conclusion of any snow or ice storms.

Failure to adhere to the ordinance may result in a civil infraction citation, or even a criminal citation for a minor misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of $100 per violation.

The city has taken many measures to ensure people know these policies.

A flyer was sent out with utility bills in November explaining snow removal guidelines and consequences for failing to remove accumulated snow on sidewalks. A public notice had also been placed in both The Sentinel Tribune and The BG News explaining the ordinance.

“I think in the last winter and this winter more people are becoming aware of this policy,” Craft said.

Junior Daniel Persons says he is aware of the city’s snow removal guidelines.

“I have been out multiple times since this past weekend in order to maintain a clear driveway and sidewalks,” he said.

On the other hand, Jeff Nisius, a graduate student at the University, says he does not worry about constantly clearing his walks.

“We let the snow melt instead of clearing the sidewalks,” Nisius said. “I’ve never heard of anyone being warned or fined for not shoveling their snow.”

Even though the ordinance has been well publicized, violators remain.

“Last winter season, we went out on five occasions and created a list of sidewalks that were in violation,” Craft said.

With more snow in the forecast, the policy will be put to the test once again, and it will be up to the residents to maintain the safety of their sidewalks.