Seven Fields' warning on nuisances carries $25 fine
Seven Fields residents who don't clear snow off sidewalks or mow their grass will get more than a polite letter from the municipality from now on telling them to shape up.
Under a revised nuisance ordinance, first-warning letters will come with a $25 fine.
“We have been sending the same warning letters out to the same people again and again. It has become problematic. And too much of the staff's time is devoted to this,” said borough manager Tom Smith.
The municipality issued its first citation under the new ordinance on Thursday on a dog-related complaint, Smith said.
The borough council approved the change Feb. 25 on a 3-1 vote, with member Kevin Caridad voting against it.
The borough fines for all kinds of infractions, including keeping junk on property, throwing cut grass into catch basins, skateboarding and letting dogs run loose.
Seven Fields is one square mile, home to 3,200 residents and has 15 miles of streets. Some residents said they were ambivalent about the need to revise the code.
“Everyone where I live takes care of the snow in front of their homes. But when I go walking, I do see homes where the owners have not removed snow from the sidewalks in front,” said Karen Musulin, a Seven Fields resident.
Walking is popular among residents, Smith said.
Other than failure to remove snow, Musulin said, she does not view any of the nuisance infractions as chronic.
Failure to pay on time and correct a violation within a set time results in citations, fines and other penalties, attorney's fees and court costs, according to the borough's standardized letter. Residents who want to appeal the fines can speak with him, Smith said.
While the ordinance covers a variety of infractions, failure to remove snow and ice from sidewalks is the most persistent problem in the borough, Smith said.
Seven Fields is not the only place that issues fines with a first warning. Aspinwall has a similar ordinance and was the model for Seven Fields, Smith said.
And residents of some municipalities face steeper fines without warning.
At the end of December, six Sharpsburg businesses were fined $300 each and required to appear in court for failing to remove snow in front of their stores.
“This is a problem that will never go away. You have people who always do it and people who never remove snow. I think these business people got the message,” said Sharpsburg police Chief Leo Rudzki Jr.
Most communities in Pennsylvania have snow removal ordinances, said Rick Schuettler, director of the Association for Pennsylvania Municipal Management in Harrisburg.
“How they are enforced varies. Habitual violators will probably get nailed,” Schuettler said.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.