YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown Mayor John McNally is proposing a more aggressive snow removal law for the Youngstown downtown business district.
McNally said under the current law, business owners will be issued a citation if they do not remove the snow from the sidewalks in front of their businesses. They then must go to court for a hearing.
But the mayor thinks that law is not good enough.
“I don’t find that to be very efficient and I am not quite sure if the city has ever cited anybody,” McNally said.
He proposed a draft of a new snow removal law Thursday to the safety committee members, specifically for downtown business owners.
“We have some property owners who understand the responsibility of keeping their sidewalks free of snow and ice. And we have some property owners who have not really accepted that responsibility,” McNally said.
The proposal would require business owners who do not clear their sidewalks of snow by 7 a.m. the day after a snowstorm to be charged $150. That money will go to the city for cleaning the sidewalk, and the business owners will see that fee on their next water water bill.
“I am hoping if this language is accepted by city council, that we will never have to fine somebody the $150 bucks and they will simply pick up a shovel and use some salt on the sidewalks to keep everything clear and clean,” McNally said.
Shawn Allen is a general manager at Martini Brothers. He said this winter he has always made sure the sidewalk in front of his restaurant was clear.
“We know how important it is to give access to our customers to be able to get in without slipping and falling, walking through the snow,” Allen said.
Both the mayor and Allen said there are more details that need to be worked out, such as how much snow must fall before the law is enforced. When Allen removes the snow from his sidewalk, where he puts it is a challenge.
“My two options right now are to throw it on my own patio or throw it into the street where the parking is, which when people get out of their cars, they are going to be stepping into 2 feet of snow,” Allen said.
McNally said amendments can be made to the law to address the issue and make sure when people come downtown in the winter, they are safe. He has not presented the proposal to the full City Council yet. He said the safety committee will probably hold a public hearing for business owners to express their thoughts, both positive and negative.