5 citations: Charlottesville Police begin enforcing citizen snow removal
Charlottesville Police have gotten tough on businesses and individuals who have not removed snow from public sidewalks, and issued five summons for noncompliance with the city's snow removal ordinance.
McDonald's, Wendy's, and Yellow Cab got tickets February 11, and individuals in the 1700 block of JPA and in the 700 block of Monticello were written up this week.
"We've received over 150 complaints," says Lieutenant Gary Pleasants. "The majority were warned, and most complied."
Since the December snowpocalypse, police have come under fire for not enforcing the sidewalk ordinance, which requires that residents clear walkways within 12 hours after snowfall ceases.
At the end of January, Chief Tim Longo admitted that he didn't think the ordinance seemed enforceable after the so-called December "Snowpocalypse" because of the city's failure to clear its own sidewalks.
Subsequent storms were not as voluminous, and the city's grade from Pedestrian Safety Committee member Kevin Cox was much improved, particularly in clearing curb ramps and crosswalks that can impede travel, particularly for disabled citizens.
"Police went around and issued warnings," says an impressed Cox, who calls the enforcement operation "a good idea and long overdue."
Sidewalk scofflaws face a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries up to 12 months in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine.
"Obviously, this amount of snow and frequency are unprecedented," says Pleasants. "That's why we gave such leeway. And once we gave the warning, they had 12 hours."
Police are still on snow patrol. On Wednesday, February 17, says Pleasants, they're concentrating on sidewalks around schools.
"It's a civic obligation," says Cox, "and most people meet it."