Clarification Found on Snow Ordinance

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By Mike Masson
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

LANSING – Snow. It might be the least appetizing product on anyone’s plate right now. But it’s right around the corner, and it’s important to know exactly what changes are being made to the Lansing snow removal ordinance.

At a recent city council meeting on Oct. 27, the council introduced a change to the city’s snow removal ordinance. The explanation of the previous ordinance seemed inefficient, and the change will “streamline the process”, according to vice president of the Lansing City Council, Judi Brown Clarke.

The Lansing City Council meets to discuss changes in the city's snow removal ordinance (Photo by Mike Masson)

The Lansing City Council meets to discuss changes in the city’s snow removal ordinance (Photo by Mike Masson)

Previously, the city would receive a complaint or notice about excessive snow on sidewalks in front of residences or businesses. A mailed letter to the location would follow, saying that the snow had to be cleared or fines would be issued.

There was a large problem with this process, however. “With the mailing system, it could have taken up to two weeks to clean it up”, said Brown Clarke.

“With excessive snow, there were times where it was just too dangerous to even walk on sidewalks.”

Now, there will be a blanket notification through various media outlets informing residents that they have 24 hours to remove snow from sidewalks. Within 48 hours, if snow is still present, the city will come remove it, and a fine may be issued.

“Residents need to be diligent about it, there is no literal 24 hours”, said Brown Clarke.

When asked who the biggest culprits of previous snowfalls had been, Brown Clarke said, “Both [businesses and residents]. Small snowfalls would accumulate. Perfect concrete is impossible; we just need to keep the sidewalks manageable.”

At the meeting, members of the public took to the podium to voice their issues and questions with the change, many claiming that cleaning snow can be difficult for seniors or those with disabilities.

The council responded to this by mentioning there is a list of numbers available for those unable to remove snow themselves, and that there are various “snow angels” around the city who are willing to help.

Brown Clarke summed up the importance of change in one sentence.

“The bottom line is don’t let it accumulate; safety is always the biggest concern.”

Contact reporter Mike Masson: massonmi@msu.edu, (248) 808-1778

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