City Ordinance Reminds Property Owners to Clear Sidewalks

Marshfield (OnFocus) The City communications department issued a public notice to property owners on Wednesday that snow needs to be cleared from public sidewalks in the City of Marshfield within 48 hours after snow or ice has fallen.

Under the ordinance, property owners could face fines starting at $75 for first-time offenders.

Dean Schiller, Street Superintendent, told OnFocus: “We don’t have any immediate plans for extending the ordinance. Residents have 48 hours to have their walks cleared. We usually start with complaints that come into the office of sidewalks not cleared.”

Meanwhile, neighboring communities are acting on resolutions to suspend the ordinance. Village of Marathon City Administrator Andy Kurkz said, “We closed the sidewalks on Monday and the board is taking action on Wednesday (March 6th) to suspend the ordinance temporarily and avoid fining people.”

This action has made additional space available for the street department in the Village of Marathon to store snow.

Central Wisconsin currently has a snow depth of more than 25 inches and snow banks along city streets are towering.

Below is a detailed copy of the city ordinance.

Sec. 13-35. Sidewalks, removal of snow and ice; duty of street superintendent.

(1) Removal of snow and ice from sidewalks and curb ramps. Removal of snow and ice from sidewalks and curb ramps shall be done in accordance with the following:

  1. (a)  Owners of property abutting or containing public sidewalks, curb ramps and outwalks, hereinafter collectively referred to as “sidewalks”, shall be responsible to maintain such sidewalks free from snow and ice accumulations at all times. Such owner shall be responsible to remove or have removed all accumulations of snow and ice from the entire paved width and length of such sidewalks, within 48 hours after snow or ice has fallen or accumulated thereon, without notice, except for downtown sidewalks as provided in subsection (c) below. In the case of drifting snow or of ice accumulating due to melting and refreezing, such owners shall keep all sidewalks sprinkled with sand or salt, and no accumulation of ice or snow shall be permitted to continue for more than a 48-hour period.
  2. (b)  If any owner has failed to comply with any provisions of subsection (1)(a) of this section for a 48-hour period, the street superintendent, or his designee, may arrange for prompt removal or treatment of the accumulations of ice or snow, and may repeat removal or treatment procedures as often as necessary to maintain such sidewalks in a safe and usable condition. Any costs and expenses of such removal or treatment shall be charged to the owner. The minimum charge for ice and snow removal and treatment shall be $75.00 for any parcel containing not more than 200 feet of sidewalk length; $90.00 for any parcel containing more than 200 feet of sidewalk length, and an additional $25.00 for each curb ramp or outwalk, plus administrative charges as established by the street superintendent. For 4 or more contiguous vacant lots under the same ownership, the minimum charge for ice and snow removal shall

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be $300 plus one administrative charge. For the purposes of this section, vacant lots under the same ownership, separated by unopened road right-of-way shall be considered contiguous.

(c) Owners of Downtown Property abutting or containing public sidewalks, curb ramps and outwalks, hereinafter collectively referred to as “sidewalks”, shall be responsible to remove or have removed all accumulations of snow and ice down to bare pavement for the entire paved width and length of such sidewalks, within 48 hours after snow or ice has fallen or accumulated thereon, without notice.

  1. Downtown Property shall be defined as those properties within the established boundaries of the Business Improvement District excluding properties used exclusively for residential purposes. The entire paved length and width of said sidewalks shall include the area from the building front or right-of-way line to the face of the curb, including brick paver areas, where present.
  2. If any owner has failed to comply with any provisions of subsection (c) above, the street superintendent, or his designee, may arrange for prompt removal or treatment of the accumulations of ice or snow, and may repeat removal or treatment procedures as often as necessary to maintain such sidewalks in a safe and usable condition. The owner shall be charged double the minimum charges described in subsection (b) above.
  1. (d)  The street superintendent shall maintain an account of ice and snow removal or treatment, and shall report the account to the finance director not less than monthly. The finance director shall collect such charges from the owners of the parcels containing or abutting the subject sidewalks, and if no payment is made, may assess on the next subsequent tax roll a special charge against the parcels of land which are affected, to be collected in the same manner as other city taxes upon real estate. No property in the city shall be exempt from the payment of such special charges.
  2. (e)  In addition to charges for ice and snow removal and treatment as provided at subsection (1)(b) of this section, after written notice of noncompliance from the street superintendent repeated violations may be cited as an ordinance violation, subject to penalties as provided at section 1-05 of this Code of the City of Marshfield. Each day of noncompliance shall constitute a separate offense.
  3. (f)  The street superintendent will publish a legal notice summarizing the requirements of this section of the Municipal Code during the first week of October of each year.
  4. (g)  Any contractors hired by the city for the purpose of clearing sidewalks must submit proof of liability insurance coverage.
  1. (2)  Deposit in streets restricted. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to push and/or deposit snow from private premises, whether his or its own premises or those belonging to any other private person, firm or corporation upon, onto or across any sidewalk, street, and/or other city property within the City of Marshfield, Wisconsin, or to deposit snow from private premises, excluding sidewalks and driveway approaches, upon any terrace within the city.