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Most Alle-Kiski Valley municipalities require keeping sidewalks cleared of snow

| Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
A woman carrying a child intentionally walks uphill to cross the street and avoid an ice-covered sidewalk after parking on Buffalo Street in Freeport on Monday morning. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

The backs of Alle-Kiski residents might already ache from all the snow shoveling they've done this winter, but failing to keep their sidewalks clean might hurt their wallets even more.

Last week, Aspinwall police issued 78 $25 tickets to residents who didn't remove snow in a timely matter.

Most Valley municipalities require their residents to remove snow from their sidewalks after a snowfall.

Oakmont property owners have 12 hours from the end of a snowfall to have their sidewalks cleared, Oakmont Borough Manager Lisa Cooper Jensen said.

Oakmont can impose fines reaching $600 if sidewalks aren't cleared, Jensen said.

“We have cited repeat offenders,” she said. “We send residents who might not be keeping up with their shoveling letters asking them to be more vigilant.

“Usually our repeat offenders who get fined have been ignoring these warnings for years.”

Jensen said the borough, itself, will clear any sidewalk that isn't cleared in a timely manner and poses a threat to pedestrians and charge the property owner.

In Tarentum, Borough Manager Bill Rossey said residents have 24 hours after the snow stops to clear their sidewalks.

“I'm a walker,” he said. “I walk the sidewalks almost every day through Tarentum — all the way to the mill through Brackenridge — and some of the sidewalks are in pretty bad shape.”

Rossey said the borough's code enforcement officer cite residents for not shoveling their walks, and those fines range between $25 and $600.

But Rossey said the borough usually issues a “pink slip” warning residents that they have to clear their sidewalks before they fine them.

If the sidewalk remains snow covered, then the borough issues a fine.

Freeport Council President Donald Rehner said his borough is reviewing its nuisance ordinance policies, including the one for removing snow from sidewalks.

“These were written 15, 20 years ago,” he said. “A fine might only be $20, so someone thinks it's worth the $20 not to do it.

“But, it costs the borough more than $20.”

Freeport residents have 24 hours to clear their walks, Rehner said.

“We usually have a pretty good response,” he said. “There's always a few who don't clean them but, for the most part, we haven't had a huge problem.”

Rehner said the borough tries to find way to help elderly people who might not be able to clear their own walks. “If it's someone older, we'll try and find someone to send over who will help them out,” he said.

Dennis Scarpiniti, New Kensington's city clerk, said the city doesn't have too many problems with snow removal.

“The only place it's a real problem is downtown, where some of the absentee owners and vacant buildings are,” he said.

Scarpiniti said New Kensington residents remove snow just fine; it's where they put it that can pose a problem.

“We have had some issues with people throwing their snow in the streets,” he said.

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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