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Should the city fine property owners $50 for not clearing snow from their sidewalks?

Asked at Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway on December 3, 2008

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Photo of Dave Kingsley

“No, I don’t think they should. … Some people can’t afford it, they’re disabled and can’t get out to clean them. … We should all pitch in and help our neighbors.”

Photo of John Johannes

“No, because I want to go clean it with my big snow blower.”

Photo of Bev Hyde

“No, because the disabled and the elderly, that’s an imposition on them, and it’s just not fair.”

Photo of Kathy Wilson

“I think there should be a fine. I’m not sure what the amount should be, but I think it’s important in neighborhoods to keep the sidewalks clear for people for safety sake.”

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Comments

beawolf 5 years, 4 months ago

Beawolf,I am pretty sure the sidewalks may be owned by the city/eminent domain. But, I am also pretty sure city statute states it is the homeowners responsibility to maintain the sidewalks. Which includes keeping them free of debris and snow. Might want to check the laws before you find out the hard way. Confucious says, ” better cook duck than to eat duck raw”.I've lived in other communities where the city owned the sidewalks and the right of way for a path or driveway was granted to the homeowner, so I assumed the same was true for Lawrence. So, if you are correct, I could remove the sidewalk in front of my house and replace it with grass?

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DouglasCountySucks 5 years, 4 months ago

I hate to be a copout, but i am dam- glad i dont live in the city of Lawrence.Yall gots some real issues with your leaders. I thinks maybe they smoked an extra bowl or sumting man.Yall need to do some real thinking of who you put in place to run your little Republic of Lawrence.What a laughing stock of the state.

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kiddofriendy 5 years, 4 months ago

I can see it now. Everyone that hates thy neighbor will call the city to report the violation. Now the city will have to hire extra help just to answer the phone!

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purplesage 5 years, 4 months ago

Only after they get all the streets clear.Just kidding. Of course not. What an innane idea.

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Christine Anderson 5 years, 4 months ago

Hey people, I just have to say it. In the 26 years I've lived down here in Ks, only in Garden City did I see enough snow to merit shoveling. I have yet to see enough snow here in Lawrence to make this an issue worth fussing over.Face it, I just can't get more than three inches at a time! (Boo, hoo, I miss Wi)

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CrazyDiamond 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm guessing that if the only sidewalks that were NOT cleared of snow & ice were the ones belonging to the elderly & disabled, we would not be having this discussion.

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been_there 5 years, 4 months ago

Hey, how about using those flame throwers they use to burn weeds and grass in the ditches along country roads. That could be fun, solves the ice underneath problem too.

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autie 5 years, 4 months ago

oops..autie retraction..wrong thread...I got temporarily confused. I had my on personal time warp rip. I was still thinking of the poor little chickens and how cute I thought that woman was...sorry. mea culpea

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autie 5 years, 4 months ago

Whoaa fellows. the time warp space time rip continues. I just got back on and all the pictures/comments at the top are different..freakin me out man..the Kate Hemingway person this morning was so much more better to look at. Is that you? Is this me? Are you John Wayne?

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 4 months ago

gkcowell (Anonymous) says… Lawrence isn't that bad….could be like this…http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgov…+++DId you guys read this?!?!?!?!(That's almost as good as googling bigtwink on the memorial thread.)

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jumpin_catfish 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm fine with a fine, these are tough economic times so govt. must find a way to make things tougher for some folks..........Upon reflection....I don't really care.

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Andrew Stahmer 5 years, 4 months ago

So how much will someone with a heart condition, that has a massave heart attack while having to shovel get from suing the city?? (or their family if the die..?)

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honestone 5 years, 4 months ago

last year I shoveled the entire sidewalk...i live on a main street...by the time I came back two hours later the city plows had not only covered up my freshly shoveled sidewalk but they trapped me in my driveway too. When it froze that night the walks stayed that way until the melt 3 or 4 days later.

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Catzilla 5 years, 4 months ago

Nobody walks in the Midwest anyway so why bother? And people who do walk will have the footwear for whatever terrain they come upon.

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autie 5 years, 4 months ago

Schnmelingierner...I can't say that one sober..?? I thought that was part of the knee.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 4 months ago

Oh wait..wasn't there a kitchen fire in Eudora..no one was there?interesting.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 4 months ago

"Maybe I can get a Nobel prize for kitchen chemistry..do that have that category?" AutieBe careful. I think that is what got Barbara Jo Schnmelingierner in trouble.

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autie 5 years, 4 months ago

TOB, your equation has way to many variables for me to ever understand. It appears to be even more complex than that BCS thing....you know, the one the lets a team beat another team and have identical records but still give the title to that team that lost head to head....Maybe I can get a Nobel prize for kitchen chemistry..do that have that category?

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flux 5 years, 4 months ago

That was a rhetorical statement

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 4 months ago

The_Original_Bob (Anonymous) says… “Lavender grower, what kind of job is that?”A job in the horticulture field.--Just what is it about 'lavender grower' that prompts comedy?I read all the others, thought nothing.Then I saw Lavender grower, and my brain said,"I always wondered what a Lavender grower looked like".

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nobody1793 5 years, 4 months ago

So if one does a half-arsed job of shoveling, does one get fined $25? What about an unshovelable layer of ice underneath said snow? Is there a $10 fine for not salting after you shovel? It can be just as slick, ya know. Or maybe just $5 if you use sand instead? Does the clock start ticking at the start or the end of the snowfall? What if it snows, then stops, then starts again--does that restart the clock? Can I shovel the first snow first, and come back for the new snow?

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 4 months ago

Gootsie -Wasting gravy like that is un-American. If someone did that they should be shipped to Russia.To answer your question, it would melt a lot quicker.

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waka1 5 years, 4 months ago

aint no way i am gonna shovel anything

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Gootsie 5 years, 4 months ago

But TOB, what if you add gravy?

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 4 months ago

"Lavender grower, what kind of job is that?"A job in the horticulture field.Autie -All things being static, 57.6 hot biscuits is the answer for a typical one inch snow. However, real life is not static. I have postulized an equation that incorporates all factors including temp, humidity, wind, surface (brick or concrete), water weight of the snow, type of biscuit, amount of buscuits you eat while applying to snow (good one, 'Spector), amount of sunshine, etc... It is a fairly complex model. Once it is peer reviewed and published, I expect I'll have a Nobel prize sitting on my mantle.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

Maybe they could make public candy caning an alternate punishment.

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autie 5 years, 4 months ago

prospector, that was just a pure number without adding for application loss..thanks. What I don't seem to be able to find in all this is just how the ordinance will be applied other than no exceptions. What about the elderly or the sick guy or the guy out of town? Is it applied equally in all zoning applications? Will the municpal judge have any discretion? The whole thing is pretty stupid. Snow is an act of nature just as slipping on it. What's next? A lightening rod ordinance?

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flux 5 years, 4 months ago

Lavender grower, what kind of job is that?

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demonfury 5 years, 4 months ago

Sounds to me like a new way to steal additional income from the citizens of Lawrence. This idea and its penalty is an absolute joke. If you want to walk in the snowy weather, on purpose, take your bonehead to the high school track and stay the hell off my sidewalk. If the snow is bad enough to shovel from my walkway, then I'll shovel it just as soon as the city plows my street, which sometimes never gets done. The city makes a judgement call as to whether or not my street is bad enough to plow, then as a tax payer, shouldn't I have the same right to make a judgement call on whether my walkway needs to be shoveled? And if the city disagrees with me, I have to pay a fine? I think that falls under the kiss my a$$ factor. Typical Lawrence City Commissioner mindset, let's all find a way to get into the wallets of our fellow citizens, in such a way that doesn't require a vote of the people.

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prospector 5 years, 4 months ago

Oops, 2.4 biscuits. My ciphering be's poor this morn.

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prospector 5 years, 4 months ago

autie, I think you really needed 60 and you ate 3.4 biscuits when applying them. Hey , I'd be guilty also.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 4 months ago

autie,you forgot to divide by zeroI heard lemur urine works as good a ice melt, lasts longer and deters deer.If you want Santa to visit, don't put it on your roof.

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happygolucky 5 years, 4 months ago

How would you tell the sidewalk snow from the snow that the city plows up into the end of your drive when they get arouond to plowing off your street? I need a jeep just to get out.Snap - I don't think butter will help the snow melt. Now some hot salty sausage gravy. now that might get the job done and the salt will help keep it from freezing over. Just food for thought.

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disgustedagain 5 years, 4 months ago

A $20 fine would be one thing. But a whopping $60 plus for court costs??? This is so unfair to the elderly and the infirm who probably can't afford to HIRE someone or they would be doing so! To start enforcing this fine in the first year of a bad recession is appalling.The people available to hire for snow removal charge outrageous prices because they know they have you at their mercy. I, for one, would love to be able to afford to hire someone every time it snows. But it's just me and my bad back out there in the dark. Sometimes I don't get it all done. salad's proposal is excellent: "hire a crew to clear city sidewalks starting at a reasonable hour, and just charge the properties that didn't clear their sidewalks. Make it like $20/property and include the charges with their trash bill." This would work great AND would take care of the snow removal price gouging. Fines are just unfair for many reasons. I'd rather pay higher taxes, then everyone would be paying their fair share "to keep our sidewalks safe." But oh the outcry from the self-righteous house owners without sidewalks and from physically fit owners if they had to pay for my sidewalk! And just once could you parents avoid the tiresome "my children" argument: children are resilient! and more likely to get hurt when you take them sledding. In my experience as a child, walking on snow was safer than walking on semi-frozen, "cleared" slush. And I never complain about having to pay for your child's education, so step up to the plate and agree to pay for sidewalk cleaning for the elderly!

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sgtwolverine 5 years, 4 months ago

No ... I think the city should just clear the sidewalks itself and dump the snow in the offender's driveway. I bet that would get it cleared pretty quickly.

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autie 5 years, 4 months ago

I calculate it would take 57.6 hot biscuits..now that is without butter. and that would be per one inch of depth on the snow.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

How many hot biscuits would it take to melt the snow off 10 square feet of sidewalk?

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 4 months ago

Years ago when I was forced to buy my sidewalks from the city by tax specials, I only got a one year warranty. Any repairs after that, I had to pay for.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

"I will be the house that is toasty warm with the heat coming off of all the coal I'll be getting for christmas."Getting the cancer too, it sounds like.

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happygolucky 5 years, 4 months ago

Jonas-Sue everyone. It's the Lawrence way. The city needs to find a way to pay for the round-abouts somehow. I don't own the sidewalk, don't use the sidewalk, and therefore will not be cleaning the sidewalk. I will be the house that is toasty warm with the heat coming off of all the coal I'll be getting for christmas. Bah HumbugJust kidding,Happy Holidays

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Souki 5 years, 4 months ago

The city does not own sidewalks in residential areas. The sidewalks are installed on private property and anything permanently installed on private property belongs to whoever owns the land.The city has a right-of-way to that property, but if the city owned the property, it wouldn't need a right-of-way.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

"Sue me if you fall, I double dog dare you."Where do you live? We wouldn't want to get the wrong house.

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wildsun22 5 years, 4 months ago

i say we give all the homeless shovels for christmas

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salad 5 years, 4 months ago

After thinking about this for a while, I'm against fines; it's a bad idea and just pits people against govt. without solving the problem. What they SHOULD do is hire a crew to clear city sidewalks starting at a resonable hour, and just charge the properties that didn't clear their sidewalks. Make it like $20/property and include the charges with their trash bill. Pay for service works, fines don't.

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Deja Coffin 5 years, 4 months ago

Didn't we have this OTS question before, is this deja vu? I think that they should not have a fine for people to shovel their sidewalks but the city should go out and salt it for them just like the roads. Maybe that would create work for city workers who get laid off in the winter. Do some city workers get laid off in the winter?

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consumer1 5 years, 4 months ago

Beawolf,I am pretty sure the sidewalks may be owned by the city/eminent domain. But, I am also pretty sure city statute states it is the homeowners responsibility to maintain the sidewalks. Which includes keeping them free of debris and snow. Might want to check the laws before you find out the hard way. Confucious says, " better cook duck than to eat duck raw".

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beawolf 5 years, 4 months ago

As posted earlier:Sorry folks, this ordinance will be be dropped as soon as it's challenged in court. The sidewalks are owned by the city, it is their responsibility to keep clear. Private homeowners are under no obligation to maintain city owned property. If this were the case, the city could pass an ordinance that requires you to plow the street in front of your home, or repair cracks in the sidewalk or replace light fixtures or etc. etc. If my elderly father dropped dead of a heart attack because he was mandated to clear the sidewalk, I'd sue the city for a lot more than they would ever collect from fines.That said, here is nothing to stop them from taxing you to provide this service.The downtown situation is different (not sure about Lawrence) but most communities require sidewalk maintenance (as well as liability) as part of the right to do business.

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happygolucky 5 years, 4 months ago

If you want my sidewalk cleared, do it yourself. When the fine City of Larryville can keep the roads clear and pot hole free, I'll start to worry about the condition of the sidewalk. Sue me if you fall, I double dog dare you.

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consumer1 5 years, 4 months ago

correction to an uncorrectable statement. "Secondly, the elderly or age impared can pay or get volunteers/family member to shovel".

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consumer1 5 years, 4 months ago

I think the kink in the law will be to define what exactly shoveled means. For example, there are sidewalks over in hippieville (east Lawrence) that are brick, but just barely. I would think it would be impossible to actually shovel those. More likely would be to sweep what snow you can off. But really? Then, for those of you who say, no because it would be an imposition on the elderly or disabled. First of all the "disabled card" doesn't get to bet played in the same hand twice. The actual term should be "Snow removal impaired" and secondly, they just as the elderly could pay someone or have someone lined up in advance to shovel/sweep their sidewalks. Either we have laws that fit everyone, and are doled out without bias, or favoritism, or we just leave this alone.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

Haha! Stiff brooms! If there's a way to distinguish between the elderly/disabled houses and the others. . . . maybe. I think we should just require all sidewalk pedestrians to carry shovels, and shovel their own way through the walks. After all, then the work is being done by those who are actually the ones benefiting from the work.

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blue73harley 5 years, 4 months ago

TOB - nothing is ever settled in the People's Republic of Lawrence.

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countrygirl 5 years, 4 months ago

Get off your lazy butts and go clean off your sidewalk. That way little kids don't have to walk through the snow to get to school. It's the right thing to and cheaper than getting sued after someone falls in front of your house.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 4 months ago

Go back to your lean-to, Merrill.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

For those who find snow shovels a pain in the butt try using a stiff push broom and a scoop shovel. If a person doesn't mind a little snow on their bodies a leaf blower can help. Yep young children would probably like to be a part of this clean up detail.Who knows maybe one day science will not allow snow to fall on streets or walks.

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