MONTGOMERY: Township adopts snow removal ordinance amid protests

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By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
MONTGOMERY — Township residents had better dig out their snow shovels and snow blowers — and not just because of the latest snowfall Friday morning.
Township Committee adopted an ordinance Thursday night that requires property owners to clear the sidewalk in front of their homes and properties within 48 hours after the snow stops falling. The ordinance will take effect in about two weeks.
The ordinance drew protests from several homeowners who attended the meeting. Some homeowners claimed that the ordinance puts an extra burden on them, because it will cost additional money to hire someone to shovel the sidewalk if they cannot do it.
But Township Committee did not back down, citing safety reasons for the adoption of the snow removal ordinance. Mayor Patricia Graham said the sidewalks need to be cleared of snow so children can walk to the bus stop, and for adults who want to take a walk in the neighborhood.
Township Administrator Donato Nieman and Municipal Attorney Kristina Hadinger said the ordinance is “lenient.” Some towns require sidewalks to be cleared within 12 hours, Ms. Hadinger said. Other towns require the snow to be removed within 24 hours.
Property owners who do not comply and who are cited for violating the ordinance are subject to fines of up to $1,250. Ms. Hadinger said there is no minimum fine and that it is up to the Municipal Court judge’s discretion. She added that the maximum fine has never been imposed on the first or second offense.