Trustees mull changes to snow removal rules
by Jason Merel
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its Oct. 20 meeting tabled to a future meeting a consideration of an ordinance amending the village code regarding the removal of snow mounds from driveway approaches.
The proposed ordinance added language to the existing snow removal ordinance to specify that it only applied to nonresidential properties and that the ordinance did not apply to plowing done by the village or county but required the removal of newly created obstructions on sidewalks such a snow mounds.
"I’m very concerned," Trustee Craig Klatzco said. "I don’t think this is enforceable. How are you going to determine whether the city plow or the county plow throws snow up on to it and then the business gets penalized. I don’t know how it’s going to be enforceable."
"We don’t enforce the people on our side streets moving their cars," Klatzco continued. "How can you do this to the businesses? We’re not like Skokie. We don’t have a little tractor that goes around and plows the few sidewalks that we have. But this ordinance is totally unenforceable. It’s like, why are we even bothering?"
Mayor Bass asked the village attorney to clarify the enforceability of the ordinance.
"I wouldn’t say it’s unenforceable," village attorney Steven Elrod said. "I would say, maybe difficult to enforce. I think that that’s where Trustee Klatzco was going."
"What we were initially talking about were the creation of snow mounds where a sidewalk meets a driveway," Trustee Jesal Patel said. "So the condition of the sidewalk is irrelevant for the purposes of our discussion whether the sidewalk has been cleared outside of the driveway approach area."
"If a plow were to push snow across a driveway approach where a sidewalk crosses and leaves mounds of snow on either side, that is the condition we were looking to make illegal or disallowed," Patel continued. "I don’t think that this language accomplishes that; it’s closer than the last language but I have difficulty with the end of the first sentence that says ‘must keep the sidewalk area clean.’ The ‘sidewalk area’ is not defined, it’s not a capital term."
"I would ask our attorney to go back to the drawing board once again and maybe the longer we do this, the less likely we are to get snow while we’re working on it," Patel said. "But figure out a way to not be vague and suggest that anyone must clean their sidewalk, unless it’s a small area where they have created a snow mound."
Community development manager Doug Hammel said that his three takeaways were that the board wanted the ordinance to be applicable only for nonresidential properties, the ordinance should prohibit the creation of a snow barrier where sidewalks and driveways meet and the ordinance will not apply to the village operations related to the plowing of streets.
The board will consider the ordinance at a future unspecified meeting.