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In the event where snow accumulates in Waupaca, residents are responsible to remove snow and clean sidewalks within 24 hours after any snow fall. Landlords and tenants should establish who will be responsible for snow/ice removal in their rental agreement.  It is also required to use material (sand, salt, or mixture) to reduce the risk of slipping and falling for pedestrians on said sidewalks.

Snow Removal Review Process

  • The Facilities Superintendent and Code Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector attempt to inspect properties approximately 48-72 hours after a snow fall event occurs.

Note: Timing of inspection is dependent on Staff availability and weather. The Snow Removal Ordinance states that sidewalks should be clear of snow and salted/sanded (as applicable) within 24 hours of the end of a snow fall event. If it snows again/will snow again within the 48-72 hour timeframe, inspections will be delayed until after the last snow fall event ends.

  • A list of un-shoveled properties is created during the inspection process and provided to the Streets Department after completion.

Note: The whole City is inspected after each snow fall event (as weather permits).

  • The Streets Department sets a day to have crews, usually two, shovel/snow blow and salt/sand all needed properties. Pictures are taken of each property before and after any work is completed.

Note: If a property that is on the list turns out to be cleared when the Streets Department gets to it, it is crossed off the list, not shoveled and the property owner does not get billed. Likewise, if a property is found that has not been cleared and is not on the list, the Streets Department will clear the property as long as they are out with the equipment.

  • Once the Streets Department completes the necessary snow clearing, the list of cleared properties is then provided to both the Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector and Deputy Clerk.
  • The Deputy Clerk then utilizes that list to bill the property owner a $75 fee.
  • The Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector then utilizes that list to check for any secondary offenders. Secondary offenders receive a bill with the $75 clearing fee as well as a $169 citation. Offences after the second offence receive an increased citation amount ($200.50).

Questions:

What happens if the property owner does not pay?

$75 fees are billed first and added to the following years tax roll if not paid by the end of the year. Citations are taken to court.

Why $75 for a fee?

$75 was selected as it is the typical average price when all costs are combined (labor, materials, equipment, etc.). Of course, if a property is larger or on a corner lot, it would usually cost more, but an average cost is utilized for all properties for simplicity purposes.

How are residents notified of this requirement?

This requirement is not specific to Waupaca. Most every community has a requirement that is near identical to ours. First and foremost, the requirement for snow clearing is within our municipal code of ordinances. As a courtesy and to spread the word more effectively, the city utilizes newsletters, utility mailings, social media, our City website, radio and video postings to relay this information to the public. The City will not do door hangers or mail letters due to time constraints. Multiple forms of notification are in place to supplement these items.

Is 24 hours enough time?

The City has in its ordinance that snow shall be cleared from sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of the snow fall event. As mentioned above, this requirement is not unique to our community and is utilized by communities throughout the state. The crew also prioritizes City streets and City owned property before going out to clear any sidewalks that are not the direct responsibility of the City. Given this lead time, inspections do not usually occur until approx. 48 hours after the snow fall event at the earliest. Crews then do not get out to clear the sidewalks until over 48 hours have passed. This should be more than enough time for residents or companies hired to clear. Safety is our priority and the City needs to ensure that paths are cleared in a reasonable time frame.

Popular to contrary belief, the Streets Department will not unnecessarily shovel properties that do not need to be shoveled. Their time is valuable too and they are professionals at time management (that’s why they are able to do all of our streets in such an efficient manner!!). Weather is always considered when shoveling. If multiple snow fall events are to occur within days of each other, the process of inspection and snow clearing of areas and sidewalks that are not the direct responsibility of the City are delayed until the snowfall events conclude.

Importance of Sidewalk Snow Clearing

Clearing snow and ice from all walking infrastructure —not just along sidewalks, but also at crosswalks, curb ramps, and bus stops, etc.—is an essential part of making walking practical, safe, and comfortable in the winter. It promotes and encourages year-round walking and can reduce the risk of injuries from slips and falls. Approximately one-third of the U.S. population does not drive. This group includes children, people with certain disabilities, seniors, those who cannot afford a personal vehicle, postal workers/mail carriers and those who simply choose not to drive. Sidewalks and crosswalks are necessary infrastructure for ensuring that people can walk or use a mobility device to access destinations or public transit. Additionally, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II Regulation §35.133 requires maintaining ADA-compliant access to walkways year-round, which includes snow and ice clearing.

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